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Intentional Focus February – Week 4 – Physical Health

February 24, 2020

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“Hi friends! How did your third week of the month go? How has it been practicing being intentional this month? I finished reading the book “Educated” by Tara Westover last week (mostly because I had to return it to my mother-in-law before we saw her) and it was a good one. Hard to read, sometimes I wanted to internally vomit, but good. One of those books that started out as a “need to read” and became a “want to read.” 

The final goal I am focusing on this year is physical health, which can also be referred to as working out. 


I have a love-hate relationship with working out. Sometimes I love it. I get on this kick where I want to work out and I’m seeking opportunities to work out. I’m pumped full of energy before, during, and even after I workout. It’s great when this is the case.

Some days I dislike it with a passion. I come up with every excuse to not work out. My pinky hurts. All my workout clothes are dirty. It’s too cold outside. It’s too warm inside. My housemates are home and sleeping below, what if I wake them up with my sit ups? Literally everything. 

But most days it’s somewhere in between. I pump myself up with a workout playlist and get dressed and then I look at the workout video or have to leave for the studio and all the dread and reluctance hits me. If I’m working out at home, I’ll often lay down staring at the ceiling and my workout list pep talking myself in and out of it. If I’m working out with people or going somewhere, there really isn’t much I can do but just drag myself into doing it with them. 

I would love to be one of those people that craves a good work out, but I’m not sure I am. 

I often feel really great after I workout, and I try to let that be my motivation to get to and through a workout. Trying to focus on the future Valerie as opposed to listening to present Valerie. Present Valerie is all about the comfort and inertia of staying put and not having to work hard. Future Valerie knows that if Present Valerie were to practice a little intentionality in the beginning moments of working out, she would be able to see towards and past Future Valerie to the benefits and that accomplished feeling. 

To be clear, my motivation for physical health and working out is not to get the model beach body. Maybe at one point in my life that was my motivation, but that’s an unsustainable, unhealthy motivation so I actively work to leave it behind. My motivation is more long-term. 

Back in college, I had a routine visit with my primary care practitioner and she informed me “Hey, did you know you have high cholesterol levels?” Not so much due to what I was eating, but because it was in my genetic family history. Woot. Well, other than working on eating foods with lower-cholesterol levels, she recommended more regular exercise. Specifically cardio as that would help reduce my cholesterol levels. 

So after having avoided running ever since 5th grade soccer, I would actually have to run for health reasons. Having high cholesterol, and a general predisposition for high cholesterol levels, as a college student wasn’t a big concern in that current stage of life I was in. It was more a concern for my future health and the possible challenges and dangers that could come later with high cholesterol levels that were left unchecked. It’s like figuring out when to shovel snow. You could choose to shovel snow as the snow falls over the course of winter, or you could wait until all the snow has fallen and shovel it all at the end. While both are options, one means a lot harder worker for one long period of time as opposed to smaller work in increments of time. If I wanted to prevent the potential high cholesterol dangers from taking place in the future, I would need to be intentional and establish habits and rhythms for diet and exercise now. 

I began to run a smidgen more frequently. But if I’m honest, I find it pretty boring after about 10 minutes. And as someone who gets cold very easily and quickly, relying on being able to run outside in New England is a little challenging. So I needed to find other forms of exercise that would fulfill my doctor’s recommendations and also be enjoyable and sustainable.

Update: I’m still working on this. I’ve been working on this. So this goal isn’t really a new one for me, but a continued one as I figure out what exercise looks like for me in different seasons of life. 

Right now it looks like a combination of ClassPass, random fitness videos (hello Blogilates and Fitness Blender), and the occasional run outside. But I’m still figuring it out.

What is your motivation for improved physical health? What forms of exercise do you enjoy the most?

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