Exercise: Stop thinking and just do it

Janice Daniels

Why is it we spend so much more time talking ourselves out of exercising than actually exercising?

Three weeks ago I told myself “I’m going to work out today” but later that day – as I thought about this idea of working out – I caught myself coming up with every excuse in the book not to do it. Finally I realized what I was doing, cut those thoughts off and put my work out clothes on without allowing any more discouraging thoughts to overcome me. As soon as my work out clothes were on, I was out the door.

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It’s human nature to allow our thoughts to talk us in and out of things. If we used the same mindset and enthusiasm to hit the gym as we do to get in our cars and drive to the ice cream shop, we Americans would be some fit suckers. 

As most of us know though, it isn’t that easy. As great as working out makes us feel after it is over with, it still takes premeditated thoughts about energy, time, pain, sweat, showering and, of course, risking humiliation as a result of others glaring at your fat bounce. This brings me to my point: STOP THINKING. 

Tell yourself at the beginning of the day, “I’m going to work out today” or, better yet, have set workout days and times and let that be the end of it. Don’t allow yourself to think about the work out throughout the day – especially if you usually dread working out – because by the time it rolls around, chances are you will have already talked yourself out of it.


Set out your work out clothes near (or on top of) your computer area to remind you of what you should be doing before hopping on Facebook when you get home.

Put a sign on your door that reads “Just Do It,” like I have, that way when you get home from work or school you will have a quick and motivating reminder to, well, just do it. I suggest setting out your work out clothes in a spot that is easily accessible when you get home. This way you can go right to them, get dressed, grab the keys and get out the door. Once you are at the gym – or wherever you work out – that’s it; it’s time to get your butt moving! 

Also, keep in mind that no one gives a damn about what you look like running, sweating or in tight pants. How often is it that you gawk at Mrs. Doe in the locker room, or spend your entire work out time criticizing the cellulite on her thighs as she moves on the elliptical machine? Probably not very often, which means it’s highly unlikely others are doing the same to you.

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Stop thinking about how gross you’re going to look in the gym. Stop thinking about how difficult it is going to be or how eating a donut while watching “King of the Hill” sounds more appealing. 

With this “Just Do It” mindset, I have ran for the last 15 days in a row. A few times I caught myself talking myself out of it with thoughts such as, “I ran for two weeks straight, I can have a break,” “I don’t want to hurt my muscles,” or “I’m tired,” but I didn’t allow them to take control. Stop making excuses, stop thinking and just do it. It works and it’s extremely rewarding when it’s over.

Janice Daniels can be reached at [email protected]