I live in an old house, which my husband and I have been slowly remodeling (for several years now), with a lot of help from my dad.
Let me tell you, it's nothing like those DIY shows that make remodeling look so easy and fast. It has been quite the process... We go through cycles of getting a lot accomplished, followed by long breaks from house projects.
My dad has taught us a lot. By doing things ourselves, we've saved a lot of money. But sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. After all, the DIY route requires a lot of your time.
My dad is like a combination of Bob Vila (This Old House) and MacGyver, with the patience of a saint. There's nothing DIY that he can't tackle.
Unfortunately, I didn't inherit any of these traits.
A recent project was to spruce up the dining room. I wanted to add some cabinets and bookshelves. My talented dad agreed to build the cabinetry (the hard part). My job was to paint the room.
Painting seems like a simple enough task, but the truth is that it's monotonous, messy, and time-consuming.
Dad loves his music. He can't work without it. So when I'm working with him, I get a healthy dose of "classic hits from the 80s and 90s."
As I painted (listening to groups like Journey, Genesis, and Huey Lewis and the News), I had a lot of time to think. I thought about things like:
- Man, what were we thinking the the 80's with all that hairspray and frizzy hair? My hair is naturally curly and frizzy --why did I feel the need to perm it?
- This is taking FOREVER... Am I EVER going to be done with this project?
- Is there a lesson to be learned here? How does this experience relate to other areas of life? Hmm... what else is monotonous, messy, and takes forever to see results? Oh yeah, exercise!
So in this post I'll share 4 motivational tips that relate to exercise and painting... for anyone who wants to get on track with their health and spruce up their house. :)
4 MOTIVATIONAL TIPS FOR EXERCISE (& PAINTING):
1. Seeing your progress is helpful.
With painting, it's the trim work that takes the most time. Despite this, I would choose trimming with a new color over roller work with the same color (such as repainting a ceiling or applying a second coat to a wall) any day. Why? Because when you change the color, you can see your progress.
This is why fitness apps, charts, and journals work well. They track how much you've done, providing positive feedback to keep you motivated.
When I first joined a gym, a trainer set me up with a strength program. I was given a chart to track the various types of exercises, the amount of weight lifted (which increased over time), and the number of repetitions and sets completed. On days I didn't feel particularly motivated, it always helped to look at my chart and see how far I'd come. This was a great motivator.
2. The process isn't painful if you change your outlook.
I wanted my dining room painted, so I needed to get to work. I could choose to look at it as a torturous chore, or I could chill out and see it as an opportunity to create something nice, spend time with my dad, listen to music, and think (even come up with a blog post idea!).
If you want to feel better, the bottom line is that you need to do the work. Your body needs regular exercise to function well.
Unlike painting, you do not have the option to hire this job out.
The good news is that exercise doesn't have to be agonizing. Find what you enjoy! Start with a simple walk outside.
By changing your outlook, exercise becomes an opportunity to relieve stress, get fresh air, feel invigorated, and get inspired (since exercise also improves mental focus and creativity).
3. Good listening material makes a big difference.
The nice thing about monotonous tasks is that they don't require much mental effort. As a result, they allow you to enjoy other things, such as a good audiobook, podcast, or music.
In my dad's case, it's 80s/90s classics. (I'll admit, they just don't make singers like Phil Collins and Elton John anymore!)
I happen to love audiobooks. This is how I do the majority of my "reading," often while running or walking outside.
Yet despite my preference for books, I will say that there's nothing like a great song to kick your fitness routine into high gear!
4. The results are worth it.
When I walk into my dining room now, I see the beautiful shelves and cabinets that were built by my dad. I see the beige wall color, which nicely contrasts the white trim and accent colors in the room. I see the ceiling that is just a hint darker than the white crown molding, helping the crown to "pop."
I see a project that we methodically kept working on, and the work paid off.
Not only does it look nice, there's also a great sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing that we did the work ourselves.
Similarly, the benefits of exercise come slowly, through consistent effort.
Your fitness goals may seem overwhelming and frustrating at times. You may wonder if the work is worth it.
It's important to stick with it, doing something to move forward each day. (Remember, consistency over intensity.)
As you start achieving your health goals, you will enjoy a great sense of accomplishment and know that the work is definitely worth it.
This post was originally published on November 17, 2016.