Where I spray-paint my thoughts…



I am so incredibly lazy, it’s  mind-boggling. 

Particular when it concerns anything that’s good for me.

Right now I am in desperate need of some exercise.  Anything.  Getting up and moving around.  Stretching.  I want to go to a water fitness class or do something that involves working my muscles, increasing my heart-rate, getting my blood flowing.  I am feeling completely better from the pulled muscle in my back a few weeks ago, but since then I have basically done nothing exercise-wise and I feel like I am starting to seize up.  And it’s not like I was doing a huge amount of exercise before that happened.

There are certain things I know are good for me.  I enjoy doing them.  I feel yucky when I don’t do them.  Yet if I stop, it’s almost impossible to get started again.  Laziness creeps in and overwhelms me.


One of these things is exercising my body.  The other is exercising my spirit — doing anything on a regular basis that’s good for me spiritually.  Prayer, meditation, Bible study, what we used to call “having devotions” or “having a quiet time” or just anything that stretches my spiritual muscles.

All my life, I have struggled with these two practices.  Now that I’m in mid-life (though not in mid-life crisis, yet), I can recognize my patterns clearly, and they apply to both body-exercise and soul-exercise.

1. I start a new practice.  Could be water fitness, working out on the weight machine, walking the track, memorizing Psalms, meditating, journalling — whatever.

2. I enjoy the practice and find it physically or spiritually exciting and restorative. I even tell other people about how great it is.

3. I keep it up and think how wonderful I am for finally doing this regularly (time period here is usually 6 weeks – 3 months).

4. I stop doing the practice regularly for a few days. I force myself to go back to it, but it gets sporadic.

5. I give up. I recognize that I’ve become bored with that particular practice and need a change of pace, something to shake me up and get me going again.  The obvious solution is to immediately start trying a new practice.

6. I do nothing.  I remind myself — well, if we’re talking about spiritual exercise, I remind myself that I’m saved by grace, not by works. If we’re talking physical exercise, I remind myself that I love my body and I refuse to buy into the North American female body-hating mentality, and that I’m fine just as I am.  I tell myself that I’m active enough, spiritual enough, that I don’t really need regular disciplines and practices. Laziness completely envelops me. (Time period here can be, again, a few weeks to a few months).

7. I start to feel either physical or spiritual malaise — or, if my timing’s right and I’m off-track both physically and spiritually (as now), both.  Cranky, tired, like my muscles aren’t getting the workout they need.

8. I try a new practice and I like it.  The cycle begins again.

I have lived this pattern so often I know it far better than the back of my hand. (“Gee, what’s that? A freckle? Never noticed that before…”)

The question is, why can’t I change the pattern? I understand that I need change and variety in my physical and spiritual routines.  But why can’t I skip straight from step 5 to step 8, eliminating the laziness and negativity and non-productive time spent in Sloughs 6 and 7?  When a routine, whether physical or spiritual, starts to get boring or difficult to maintain, why can’t I try something else immediately?

I don’t know the answer. I know that I’ve been at stage 6 for a few months now and am definitely moving into stage 7 on both physical and spiritual fronts.  I don’t know yet what my new #8 is going to be, how I’m going to get active again, but based on past experience I know that I will.  What I really need to know is, how can I change the pattern? Do other people still struggle with this after years and years of trying to living physically and spiritually healthy lifestyles?


8 thoughts on “Lazy

  1. See, Trudy, I don’t see you as a lazy person in general and I wouldn’t characterize this behaviour as lazy either.

    I have the same sort of thing going on. I take up something new and I enjoy it and enjoy the results but then life will get in the way, or I’ll think of doing this every day for the rest of my life and then my plans go all to hell.

    I wonder if the problem is that these new habits are something just for us, and when life gets too hectic, they’re the easiest thing to let slide? I know that I always try to do too much, and I get overwhelmed, and then life tends to force some downtime on me.

    I’m working on this too, maybe we should brainstorm some solutions together?

  2. At least you HAVE a cycle that sometimes includes steps with activity. What I usually do is decide I’m going to do something, spend money on the tools I may need, procrastinate starting it, something comes up and gets in the way (life), put the tools in storage, dust them off, give them away or sell them, start all over again. This cycle can be overlapping, with many concurrent cycles at various stages.

    By the way, wanna buy a (treadmill, bicycle, eliptical machine, cookbook, guitar, set of French learning DVDs, any video by Tony Little, Ginsu knives, slow cooker, carpet shampooer, deep fryer, walking shoes, jogging pants, … … …)???

    Oh me NERVES!

  3. Think of it as lying fallow – a necessary part of the cycle, enabling the future productivity.

  4. Good point, Chris. Today, for example, I was determined to make it to Field House to walk the track, but after I had fulfilled my obligations to work, kids, aging relative, dying van, and husband, there was precious little time left (I still did get there, but it took great effort of will to eke out the half hour!) But here’s the thing — some things, such as reading, blogging/websurfing, watching House, taking bubble baths — are also “just for me” and I have NO problem keeping those up. The difficulty seems to be with things that are “just for me” that actually require some EFFORT. How much trouble am I willing to go for my own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being?

    bubandpie, I like the “lying fallow” idea … that is usually what I tell myself I’m doing at the beginning of Stage 6. The problem is balance — I don’t think fallow periods that range from just as long, to twice as long, as my “active” phases, can be a good thing for the overall functioning of the machine. A two-week fallow period, that I could live with.

    Steve, what can I say? You make me feel better!! And all that stuff in your garage or basement will be there if the mood ever strikes again…

  5. Hi Trudy,

    We’ve been keeping up with home through your blog. You’ll be pleased to know that, so far, that among the things we’ve bought for the kids, we haven’t bought a Game Boy.

    We’re enjoying Florida, but it’s too bad our heat cells don’t store heat as efficiently as our fat cells store fat. Following the trend of your blog ‘Lazy’ , perhaps we’ll renew our efforts to exercise and tone up. Someday Soon…..

    Your Parents

  6. Hey! I didn’t think you guys would have internet access down there! I wish you could store heat and bring it back … we are finally getting sunshine but could use some warmer temperatures.

    I know I can trust you a) to bring back presents fro the kids, and b) NOT to bring them a GameBoy!

  7. Trudy:

    Have you heard of FlyLady? http://www.Flylady.net is a website that has helped hundreds of thousands of people get their whole lives together 15 minutes at a time. The woman who started it is named Marla Cilley. Her basic concept is you can do anything for 15 minutes and by taking babysteps. It may not hurt to check it out.

    🙂 Sara

  8. Hi Sara,

    I used to be a big fan of FlyLady back in my SAHM days … quite useful for getting the house organized, and I still use some of her ideas, though not as faithfully, now that I’m a working mom. Hadn’t thought of applying the 15-minute idea in other areas but it does have some merits. Except that with exercise particularly, most activities that are at all interesting require an investment of a little more than 15 minutes — if only to get out of the house. “Babysteps” are always a good idea though!

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