For the last month, I’ve been on short-term disability because of an injury at work. For the first few days, being off work and avoiding any physical activity that could aggravate my injury was a nice bit of relaxation. Within a week, however, I was starting to go stir-crazy. Two major parts of my routine—going to work and spending time in the gym—had suddenly disappeared.
I typically start my shift at 5:00am, and after just a week, I’ve found myself sleeping past 9:00 every morning. I’m not getting exercise, at least not the kind of strenuous exercise to which my body has become accustomed. I’m wasting hours a day on Netflix and Youtube. I’m eating like crap. And I’m getting paid to do it.
The point is, I’ve found myself doing what most people wish they could do: sleep in every day, watch TV, eat junk food, avoid exercise, and still get a check in the mailbox every other Friday, and I’m not enjoying any of it. I feel like a lazy, unmotivated piece of shit, because deep down I know that’s exactly what I’ve let myself change back into in less than a month’s time. When I was getting up early, busting my ass at work for eight hours, and then hitting the gym until I was drenched in sweat, everything I did to relax and unwind afterward felt deserved. I didn’t feel guilty about watching a movie on Netflix while having a dish of ice cream, because I knew I had earned it. So that’s my admonition for you today: earn your fun. If you don’t, your brain will know it deep down. If you take shortcuts and put fun before your responsibilities and your long-term goals, you won’t truly be able to enjoy itself. Some people think having a “cheat day” is a diet is a good idea, others don’t. But I think we can all agree that the whole idea of a cheat day is defeated if it’s not accompanied by six “non-cheat days”.