This morning, for some reason, I got up and lifted weights.
There's a little more backstory to it than this; almost a year ago I started "the Abs Diet", just for a 6-week run to see how I'd like it. The food habits changed slowly - while I don't follow it religiously any more, I do tend to make smoothies a principal part of my diet, and snack on nuts and fruit more than donuts and ice cream.
More surprising to me was that I grew to really enjoy weightlifting. Not only the effects on my body, the smile on my wife's face when she'd embrace me and find that her arms fit around me more easily, or the changing shape of my arms. No, I enjoyed the process itself, the repetitive, meditative struggle. My inner drill instructor would come out and yell at me to finish that rep, make that form better, and each little victory started my day off with the knowledge that I'd done something, achieved a goal, and whatever else happened that day, it would not be as bad a day as it could have been.
Then, without going into detail, about 5 months ago my life fell apart. And so did my regimen. Put simply, it didn't seem to matter any more - divorce and other upheavals simply made me not care.
Of course, there's more to it than that. Part of it was also punishing myself for my own failure, as I perceived it, and what better way than to both take away something I enjoyed and also begin to reverse all the good work I'd done?
After about 3 months I decided to start again...and that's when that Inner Critic shifted tactics. Procrastination became the watchword: Oh, you didn't get up early enough. You really should clean the basement before you lift weights. Probably should stretch first, and there's not time for that.
For some reason, this morning, the voice didn't work. Even though I'd been up past midnight helping a friend through an inner crisis, at 6:30 am I got off the futon and put on shorts and a t-shirt and started the abdominals. I didn't wait to clean off the yoga mat, I didn't go hunting for the right music on the iPod, I ignored the laundry on the floor and I simply did the routine.
Then I went to the basement. I didn't sweep the floor around the weight machine, I didn't futz with the laundry, I didn't even take the time to dust the cobwebs off the sliding plates. I just started lifting.
Thirty minutes later, I can go through the rest of my day knowing that, in spite of the slings and arrows that come my way - and lemme tell ya, in the 1/2 hour I've been here at work already, there have been some doozies - I have that familiar burn in my arms, my vision is clear, and I know that I at least started the day with something worthwhile.
Sometimes you just gotta get up and do it.