Alternate title – Avoiding the doing requires much more energy than the doing

Ever been on the treadmill at the gym and had that ‘I probably ought to check that out someday’ feeling while watching the crowd assemble for the group fitness class, but then talked yourself out of it or poo-pooed the idea? 

Maybe it seems like no big deal, after all, you think, I have lived this long without doing yoga or learning how to swim or trying the ‘body jam’ group exercise class or practicing my jump shot so I can play in the basketball league or taking swing dance lessons, why do I need to now?  I mean, I really think the sun will continue to rise if I never do any of them, and besides, I’m pretty good about getting regular exercise so it doesn’t seem I’m missing out on anything.    

The sun aside, maybe it is ok that you never do other activity than what’s in your routine – you may have fixed circumstances whereby it’s simply are not in the cards.  Buuuut, hesitancy is different from a fixed circumstance so at closer look which is it?  Hesitancy is resolvable, and you deserve resolution.  Pilates will survive if you don’t try it, but the point is what the activity does for you.  Any self-imposed barrier IS a problem for how it limits the growth of your activity self.  The fact you haven’t done Zumba doesn’t hurt Zumba, it hurts you!                   

So, sit back and we sort this out.  What follows are the common reasons for hesitancy and their resolution:  

Exercise bigotry – Ugly harsh word that usually innocently stems from lingering archaic notions of gender appropriateness or worry about how someone could perceive you doing an activity.  Neither makes you a monster, and both are easy to overcome.  Simply, activity is gender neutral, period, and if someone is going to judge you by your activity choices, well, that’s for a whole other post.            

Avoidance due to fear – This can be a tough nut to track because fear is FEAR, and, activity fear is usually the result of a previous traumatic experience.  Double trouble, but resolvable.  First, try it with a new instructor or leader.  A fresh perspective can mean an entirely different (good) experience.  Second, realize you likely are at a different place in your life from when the unfortunate experience occurred, likely more open than you think to a re-start.  Third, confide in a friend then ask that friend to join you for your re-attempt.  The moral support speaks for itself, and communicating your fear can be cathartic as the transfer neutralizes some of its power – you are not the only one who knows.        

Avoidance due to fear of failure or lack of confidence – You may think you will look silly but you won’t look any sillier than anyone else!  No one is going to remember that you zigged when you were supposed to zag.  Or, you may fear coming in last, or the equivalent of.  Chances are you won’t, but if you do so what!  Net/net let go of the what-if’s.  There is no need to pressure yourself, learning takes time and it feels awkward at first.  Set yourself up in the back row if that helps (or the equivalent), and realize that you are not alone for the same reason.  Oh, and the sun WILL rise if your zig is ‘incorrect’ or you come in last…      

 No opportunity to try new things – You want to try new things but due to circumstances it seems you lack the opportunity.  This is likely (hopefully) easier to resolve than you may think, and the solution can go a long way toward paying activity motivation forward.  Contact the physical education department of a conveniently located school, grade level doesn’t matter, and volunteer with the activity program (e.g., physical education, before or after-school service).  Your assistance can be priceless – for your Iron Footprint and the kids’.  Immersion will enable you to try new/different activities (from your routine) since most programs seek to expose kids to as many different activity forms possible – their exposure will parallel yours.  Not a highly-skilled athlete?  No problem, you will still be able to make a significant contribution.                      

Settled!  Ok, now why this topic?

One dimension of Iron Footprint achievement is notching a FitBUBBLE for every new activity you try.  Why?  Because participating in any/all activity is part of your total accumulation of activity, your Iron Footprint.  Even if you only try something once, it warrents notching because it weighs in your portfolio.  There is also a qualitative element to adding FitBUBBLES since doing something new is often avoided for its anticipated risk (dispelled above), or it represents overcoming past trauma.  Both deserve recognition.            

FitBUBBLES are anything but whimsical achievement markers because the ultimate result is the self-confidence you develop from adding or overcoming.  Not to mention, the ‘new’ can cause muscle confusion that strengthens your fitness and may just improve your social life or at least give you negotiating leverage with someone close – I did this, now you do that.      

Any dread of anticipation is usually much worse than the actual doing.  Root canal wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t as horrifically miserable as the internet said it would.