The title of this post makes me think of a football coach in an uplifting sports movie, yelling to his players, "You've gotta EARN it!" The players get pumped, they work together to beat the other team, and the crowd goes wild. A very motivational scene...
A disclaimer -- there is nothing football coach-ish about me. :) But I think we can all learn from the coach's advice of earning it. We can recognize the sweet victory that is earned through hard work, and we can find ways to achieve such victories in our everyday lives.
To Receive vs. Earn
There are things in life that are given to us, then there are things that we earn. Ever notice how great it feels to truly earn something? Perhaps it was an accomplishment, an award, or a job. Or maybe it was an item you were able to buy with cash, due to working extra and saving money. Once achieved, there is a great feeling of satisfaction associated with it. It signifies hard work, determination, and accomplishment.
Exercise is a form of "work" that offers a sense of victory in so many areas of life. It can enhance even the simplest of experiences. Take, for example, a shower. (Bear with me... I promise this is G-rated. :)
Most of us would agree that we feel better after a shower. We feel clean, refreshed, and renewed.
Now think about the last time you took a shower after a really good workout -- a workout where you got your heart rate up, increased your respiration rate, worked your muscles, and sweat a lot.
Think about how great the shower felt afterward. Recall how your skin felt as the water washed off the thin layer of salt covering it, and how the warm water soothed and relaxed your muscles. Think about how clean the soap and shampoo smelled, and how the humidified air felt in your awakened lungs.
It's a different kind of experience -- one that makes you feel more alive and invigorated -- as though you've been cleansed from the inside out. This heightened experience was earned through the hard work expended beforehand.
A shower is just one example. There are many others. How much better does that sandwich taste after a long hike? How much better is your mood after a nice run or walk outside in the fresh air? How much better is your focus, your energy level, or the quality of your sleep, when you are exercising regularly? How much nicer do you feel "in your own skin" when your muscles are toned?
These are some sweet victories that we have the opportunity to enjoy every day, if we choose to. But they can't be passively received. Nor can they be bought with money. They must be actively earned through exercise. Though we may be able to hire out the work in other areas of our life, there's no delegation when it comes to exercise. We must do the work. But the rewards are so worth it.
How about you?
How might your experience of living be enhanced through increased physical activity? What simple things might become much more enjoyable? By making a habit of earning such experiences, through regular exercise, we can enjoy the sweet victory of increased vitality in our everyday lives.
This post was originally published on September 9, 2016.