You’re feelings aren’t that important: why simply doing what feels good will not lead to a love of winter

I am a nagging wife. I know there are some wives who get by without nagging, and I am happy for them and their husbands. But I have yet to figure out how to reach this zen state. I recently gave my husband a book of coupons; when he reached the one that said: ‘submit this coupon for a nag-free weekend’ he could not contain his delight. “A whole weekend! I’m saving this for a special occasion.” If you are one of those amazing women who has figured out the nag-free life – please comment below with any tips on how you obtained this amazing feat. But I digress.

As a master-nagger I know that it is not enough to persistently suggest that something be done. No. You also need to combat the plethora of excuses that follow your ‘request’. I have decided that my husband does not exercise enough and it is negatively effecting his health. Granted, he legitimately does not have much free time with two jobs, a three hour commute and a newish baby (also did I mention his wife is kinda naggy?).

I had the perfect solution.

Max pushups.

(Note: I have a theory that anyone can get in shape by just doing max bur-pees four times a day. I haven’t actually proven this because I haven’t found anyone who was willing to try it out. If that person is you send me a message and I will happily encourage you 4x a day. Heck, I’ll even do them with you.)

Last night, after all of the nighttime baby madness was over, my hubby was lounging on the couch relaxing for the first time all day. I casually asked if he had completed his max pushups for the day. He had not and he responded that he ‘didn’t feel like it’. He knows that this is the perfect anecdote to my nagging. Why? Because while it is not a valid excuse, he already knows it isn’t a valid excuse and so there is nothing I can really say in response. So I elected to say nothing and dropped down to do my own max pushups. I have a policy of not asking someone to do something I am not willing to do myself so, of course, I have been doing them as well. Now, me doing max pushups is not a pretty sight. In the months since my daughter was born I have very gradually worked myself back up to 21. It is a true maximum and I am grunting and shaking and generally looking ridiculous. Also that night I may or may not have had to stop and hold for several seconds before continuing. The great thing was: after I was done I felt wonderful. Before I had started I was wondering how I would possibly make it through the dishes before collapsing into bed. Now I was strutting into the kitchen with confidence. Hubster, either because he saw how well it worked for me or because he – very romantically – could not bare for me to be pathetic by myself, followed suit. He came into the kitchen ecstatic and shared in my excitement at having an ounce of energy at the end of the day.

The point of all this? If you wait for your feelings to change before you make a move it is very likely that you will never do it. Often the movement is the impetus that you need in order for your feelings to change. It is true that often all we feel like doing on a cold winter day is hunkering down inside under a bundle of blankets, but how long can you really do that before you begin to lose your energy and enthusiasm for life?

This is why I think it is important to make habits. To take the decision-making out of the equation. When I give myself the choice I all too often take the easiest option available. For most of this winter I felt like I was kicking butt and taking names, getting outside everyday despite lots of cold weather warnings and sometimes a less-than-cooperative baby. But in the last few weeks I have started to lose my spunk. This was made abundantly clear to me yesterday, when a brisk wind on my trek from my car to the grocery store convinced me to scrap my plan of a long walk and go to a coffee shop instead (not that I have anything against coffee shops, but they are so much more enjoyable when ones lungs are full of fresh air). So I have decided to challenge myself with something that worked well for me last year. I hope you will join in.

30 min outside everyday. No matter what. No excuses. No decision even. Just put on your coat and go outside. If you need encouragement send me a message and I will respond every day.

I will leave you with one of my favourite pieces of advice from one of my favourite people and mentors. (I have no idea where he got it from, it is likely he stole it.) If you don’t want to learn how to do something well, you better get used to doing it poorly. Let’s all learn how to do winter better and enjoy our lives a little more.

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