About once a week, I look up at the end of dinner to observe my 11-year-old pushing his vegetables around on an otherwise empty plate. That’s when I tell him to eat them, he tells me he doesn’t like them and then I repeat a bit of sage advice. “If you don’t particularly like something that’s served, eat it first.” If you make a concerted effort to do that, it’s out-of-the-way at the start and you’re left with all the things you DO like to eat. Waiting until the end to force the zucchini down has you leaving the dinner table on a bad note. All through the meal, you’re thinking about the awful thing you’re gong to have to choke down, the anticipation of which takes away from the enjoyment of eating the parts of the dinner you really like. He still hasn’t learned to tackle the least desirable part of the meal first but he’ll get it sooner or later.
My dinner table advice is applicable to a lot of things in life. I find that my day goes so much better if I do the chores I don’t want to do first thing instead of putting them off. For instance, I despise cleaning one of the showers in our house. It’s not the traditional type of shower over a bathtub (those are much easier to clean). It’s a small walk-in shower with a sliding glass front. The problem is that it’s impossible to clean properly without getting all the way into it and I inevitably end up getting wet (along with the bathroom floor). You can’t clean the darn thing without ending up soaked…which is especially pleasant during the cold winter months. That’s why when it’s on my list of things to do for the day, It’s the first task I cross off. Waiting until later just makes it worse. I know I have to do it and it throws a bit of a pall over the good parts of the day until I finally get it out of the way.
It’s a lesson that I take into the gym too.
Inevitably, there are parts of our workouts that we like…and then there’s quad training. Actually, I know plenty of people who look forward to leg day but I’m not one of them. I find it punishing if I do it right…which I must to get the results I want. I don’t like the feeling of getting my heart rate that high and I don’t enjoy navigating the sort of dizzy-sick landscape between my sets. That’s why you’ll find me on any given Monday, pounding out squats and walking lunges. It’s the first day of my workout week and I want the darn things over and done with. Not only do I put squats and lunges first so I no longer have to dread the coming workouts, once they’re done, I know the rest of the week, I’m going to have fun when I hit the gym.
Making up your mind to do the things you don’t want to do first is a small but mighty weapon in your psychological arsenal. If you struggle to get parts of your workout done, try moving them to the top of the list of exercises you tackle each week. I bet it’ll make a big difference in how you feel about your workouts as a whole.