“Later almost always means never”.
I’m not sure where I first read this quote, but it stuck with me, a procrastinator by nature. I am very different from my first daughter in this. For example, when I was a kid and assigned homework on a Monday that wasn’t due until Friday, it was guaranteed I would work on it no earlier than about 7pm on Thursday night. Hadley on the other hand will have it done by Tuesday morning.
I bet a lot of people could identify with me. And others could identify with Hadley. Procrastination isn’t necessarily the opposite of organization and chaos, but I see it as a symptom of chronic disorganization or insecurity. Psychologists say it is an emotional coping mechanism – a way to delay the inevitable outcome that may not be pleasing, or one we desire or want to avoid.
Procrastination when it comes to our health is much the same. We put off going to the doctor because we fear an outcome that is undesirable – one that is a result of too many days when “later” became “never” when it came to our commitment to exercise.
I committed to reading my Bible chronologically this year and this week’s reading was in Exodus, chapters 8-15. This section of Scripture includes the account of the plagues in Egypt. The second plague was frogs. After the frogs were EVERYWHERE, Pharaoh asked Moses to pray to the LORD to remove the frogs and then he’d let the Israelites go to worship and offer sacrifices (Exodus 8:8). Moses told Pharaoh he could determine the time when Moses would lift up this prayer. And do you know Pharaoh’s reply was?
Tomorrow. (v 10)
What? Frogs were EVERYWHERE, verses 3-4 of chapter 8 say they were in the Nile, in the palace, the bedrooms, on beds, in people’s houses, in the ovens, in the kneading troughs – EVERYWHERE. So much so that Pharaoh pleads with Moses to pray to the LORD to remove them……yet, he says not to remove them until tomorrow.
Why would he procrastinate on this? What inevitable outcome would come that could be worse than frogs EVERYWHERE? For Pharaoh it was the release of the Israelite slaves and the work they did for the Egyptians.
Translate this to your current exercise routine, or lack of. Why would you wait until tomorrow to start? Or Monday. Or the New Year. Or a new month. Or a new week. Or a new fill in the blank.
Why, would you postpone the removing of your “frogs”? The inevitable outcome of committing to an exercise routine is better health. That is surely more desirable than the perceived discomfort, intimidation or challenge of exercise.
Exercise has the ability to decrease stress; improve your circulation; increase your lung capacity and your body’s ability to utilize oxygen; improve your mood; decrease your anxiety; lessen your depression; build stronger tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles; improve bone density; improve skin tone; increase your ability to concentration; improve your potential for memory; and delay or eliminate chronic diseases.
All of the alternatives to these benefits of exercise you could consider potential “frogs” in your life.
Don’t be like Pharaoh and wait ‘til tomorrow.
Get active today. The Y has so many ways in which to get started, to continue and to reach new heights with your personal health and fitness. But none of them will work if you procrastinate until the perpetual tomorrow.
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