In the run-up to Christmas, the airwaves are full of advertisements meant to tug on the strings and bows of holiday hearts. Soft lighting, twinkling lights, joyous music, and re-recycled sentimentalities are employed to entice us into whichever store to buy whatever products.
I look forward to seeing what the marketing departments have come up with in the previous 12 months. In fact, as we don’t own a television, I have to seek out these adverts online and get them in full-frontal, serial holiday emotional extortion bursts. Because I find them online, their country of origin (and language) are not limited to my own.
Purpose and Intent Are a Potent Source of Motivation
Every year seems to have a standout offering, and 2021 was no different. My favorites aren’t always those most popular (or effective, I suppose), but one always touches me like no other. This year it was a nearly three-minute novella for a German pharmacy chain (I know, right?) that spoke loudest to me.
I’ll not spoil the ending, but will say that it focused on an older gentleman and a kettlebell weight, much to his neighbors’ interest …
What stirred me was the intent of his newly found (and nearly yearlong) trials — and tribulations — with his weight training. His focus on the purpose and intent of his exercise seemed an appropriate topic for the new year, as many of us look to get into better shape, workout more, or lose a bit of weight.
Why I’m ‘Training’ Rather Than ‘Exercising’
I have decided to look at my post-holidays reestablished physical routine as “training” rather than exercise. It’s a small word change, but a wholly different meaning if you think about it.
Exercise can be seen as a chore, a slog, something we do for the sake of its being “good for us” rather than with a firm goal in mind. Training, on the other hand, brings to mind athletes striving toward championships, mountaineers preparing for a summit, or a military force readying for battle. Training has a purpose, while exercise can just be a routine.
As a person living with multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 20 years, it mayn’t seem like I’d be one to train for any of the above, and I am not.
What I do train for, however, are the things in my life that those without a debilitating neurological condition would likely not think need such preparations and exertion.
How Can Exercise Move You Toward Your Personal Goals?
Many of us with MS might use this change in thinking to our physical benefit.
Some of us may want to get stronger so we can lift our children (or grandchildren, or other tykes dear to us). Some would see endurance work as a means to the end of walking the dog. Others might see yoga and stretching as having desired sexual benefits.
Perhaps there is a surgery or other medical procedure in your future, and building muscle in the area will make for a faster, more productive recovery time.
I’ve one dear friend who loves to eat, so much so that she works out for two hours per day most days so that she can eat whatever and whenever she likes. It works, as you’d never know by looking at her that she could put it away like a linebacker. She is as fit a person as I know. Training!
What I’m getting at is having a goal, a personal reason that helps us to want to do the physical activity that we know is beneficial to us. If we replace the top of K2 with a bluff from which we can watch the sunset, or substitute a pleasurable romantic encounter for a gymnastics medal, well, you get the picture.
I’m Ready to Try Out This New Mindset
I’m not a New Year’s resolution type of guy, although I have nothing against those who do make them.
I do believe, however, that I’ll have more drive and reason to start and finish the daily physiotherapy routines I’ve been assigned if I focus on the specific benefits in my life, beyond everyday balance and endurance, and the things that might come easier (or better) for the work I’m doing.
So the year 2022 will see me stop exercising and start training for the things that matter to me. How about you?
Wishing you and your family the best of health.