A Swift Kick

KickLet’s all give each other a swift kick in the gluteus maximus, shall we?

It’s inevitable. If you are a human being, at some point during your life, you are not going to feel like doing something you have to do. Sometimes the reason is superficial: you’re simply not in the mood to do something in the same way you’re simply not in the mood for a taco.

(Sorry. Who am I kidding? Who’s ever not in the mood for a taco?)

Sometimes you don’t want to wake up early and run, to gut out another hill repeat, to roll out your IT band for the thousandth time, simply because you don’t feel like it. It’s like not being in the mood to listen to The Eagles. I mean, who doesn’t love The Eagles? Just because “Desperado” doesn’t happen to float your boat at this very moment doesn’t mean you don’t like The Eagles. It just means you’re not in the mood to listen to “Desperado.”

I literally have no idea what point I was trying to make.

But at other times, aversion stems from something much deeper. We find that we’re tired. Our pursuits were grand when we first started, but now the effort required to keep going seems to outweigh the rewards. Determination slackens. Rock solid conviction becomes perforated with tiny holes through which doubts begin to percolate. We begin to rationalize concessions. We begin to compromise.

HomerOne less 400-meter repeat won’t make or break me.

It doesn’t matter if I skip this workout.

What’s one more piece of cake going to do?

I don’t notice a difference whether or not I do tempo runs, and I’m just not feeling it today.

Weariness, in its faintest, most unrecognizable form, manifests itself as futility.

Guys, emotions are fickle. They are mighty, but they are fickle. The only guarantee with emotions is that they will change. Yes, we can be moved to do great things—take up running for the first time, sign up for a marathon, eat better, quit unhealthy habits—but beginning an enterprise and seeing it through to the end are two different things. In the first case, emotions suffice (to a fault). In the latter, they fail miserably.

C.S. Lewis wisely cautioned, “We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.”

We need to be deliberate not just in taking action, but in reminding ourselves why we are taking that action in the first place. We are our own judge and jury. Every day, we hand ourselves a verdict: is what we’re doing worth it or not? We must be intentional and vigilant in supplying positive evidence that our efforts are not in vain. In running. In health. In work. In family. In faith.

It is a delightful thing, to be in the mood to do something at the very moment it needs to be done. It is also a rare thing (at least for me). But emotions are just that: emotions. They are fleeting little fiends that cause more trouble than they have a right to. Go runOur plans are too big and our ideas too grand to surrender to an emotional whim.

The next time you don’t feel like doing something, give yourself a swift kick in the tush and go do whatever it is you need to do. Because the little things matter. That last 400. That brownie you didn’t eat. That tempo run you rocked. They matter. Day after day. Mile after mile. You will see the rewards.

And then you can go celebrate with a taco. Or The Eagles.

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