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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts

You Need a Big “Have To”

Posted: April 13, 2006

Last time I told you about several people that have been an inspiration to me. Each of them had a personal battle to deal with—greater than many of us. Yet they kept fighting.

It reminds me of the Dylan Thomas poem. “Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

How is it that some are able to keep fighting when others give up? Why do some rage against the dying of the light while others simply surrender?

I’ve had people with arthritis tell me “It’s going to hurt regardless, so I might as well keep moving.” So, I’ll see them in the gym. I’ve also worked with stroke victims trying to find that reconnection between their mind and their muscles.

A friend has a condition where a virus attacks the myelin sheath around his nervous system—kind of like stripping and exposing a wire—so it just shorts out. Still, he comes to the gym.

Another client wanted to take more than 40 pounds off before a friend’s wedding next month. After 3 months, she’s lost over pounds, with a month to go. I know she’s going to make it, because she’s here about every day, sweating, working hard on the elliptical. She’s watching what she’s eating, and she’s getting to the gym.

These are the kinds of things that inspire me. Still, I’m haunted by the hundreds I’ve seen come and go. Sure, some moved, while others had work conflicts, and some were just too ill.

But why did so many others quit? Why do some stick when others don’t? I think it has to do with their “have to.” Your “have to” is what keeps you on track. It’s what drives you. It’s what keeps you working out, even when it’s tough getting there.

To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a round of golf, swimming at the Y, tennis with a friend, walking outside, weight training, cardio, or taking my kickboxing class. You’ve got to do something! The Great Designer made you to move, and you’ll surely lose it if you don’t use it—if your “have to” is too small.

Each of us has a “want to” when it comes to things like poor food choices (junk food), over-eating, and even quitting. This extends to other destructive behaviors, too. To turn it around, we’ve got to have a bigger “have to” then our “want to.”

When you “have to” feel better, you’ll make a commitment to daily exercise. When you “have to” make a change, it won’t matter if you “want to” stay home today—you’ll show up. When you “have to” turn things around, your “want to” eat that Twinkie, or do that other thing, will have a smaller hold on you.

How big is your “have to?” Do you have one, yet? Because when you get your “have to”, things start getting better.