Illustrations by Charlotte Shen
Summer Kickoff Camping Trip
Hi Homebodies, and welcome to summer! At least for Canadians, of which I count myself, once we’ve passed Victoria Day weekend, it’s the unofficial kickoff of summer. What that used to mean, once upon a time, was a long weekend involving coolers and cases of beer and bags of hot dogs and marshmallows to roast over the fire (in case the fish proved a little too elusive.
It’s Time to Get in Shape!
What does it mean these days? Hey, it’s time to get in shape! Fast! Hot weather is not welcomed by bodies that have been keeping themselves nestled comfortably indoors, following that natural instinct to take it easy and indulge over the cold/rainy/snowy winter months.
In the first two parts of this series, (which you can find here and here), we mused about what it means to be a homebody these days, the reasons people choose to be homebodies, and hinted at what could be a productive, healthy and satisfying life as a homebody, if done right.
So it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. It’s time to define what exactly the months and years to come will look like if I’m to become the paragon of healthy homebodies.
We All Need Goals
We all need goals because, more importantly I’d argue, we all need struggle. Whether it’s something we’re struggling towards (ie., a goal), or something we’re struggling to avoid (ie. consequences), if we don’t have some physical, intellectual or emotional challenge to overcome, we quickly go south. That is to say we will create stress on our own in the absence (or avoidance) of those that naturally occur in life.
Some people are overwhelmed with natural challenges that necessitate great struggle just to stay alive, or to keep someone else alive.
Exercise Feels Good
For others, we need to shape our struggle, knowing that one way or another, struggle will find us. A simple example is exercise. Few would dispute the near miraculous sense of physical and emotional well-being that follows a strenuous, or even long and leisurely, workout. Going for a walk for 30-40 minutes after dinner, or doing a few yoga poses, pushups, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator, these small choices make a profoundly tangible difference to the way we feel.
Getting Out of a Rut
So why do so many of us repeatedly fall out of these good habits and back into “rut” territory? Well, that’s where goals, and accountability, can do wonders. Goals serve as a proclamation of choice. A definition of the kinds of daily struggle I formally decide to put upon myself because I believe it will make me better and enrich my life. Accountability is the social wager, the juice, that some inherently lazy homebodies like me need to spur compliance.
Should We Share Our Goals or Keep Them Secret?
I remember a TED talk I once watched (maybe it was THIS one), where the speaker argued that people who announced their goals were actually LESS likely to fulfill them than those who kept their goals private. The idea, in a nutshell, was that when we announce our goals to friends and family, and they acknowledge and encourage us in our endeavor, we immediately get a dose of satisfaction that makes us feel closer to our goal, and thus, less inclined to struggle towards it. As a consequence of this, we are advised to a) keep our goals to ourselves, or b) announce our goal in a way that gives us no satisfaction, so that we may maintain our hunger. Get your hand out of that bag of potato chips, I don’t mean THAT hunger!
I would argue that perhaps it depends not only how we state our goals, but to whom; I’m more likely I’d say to hold myself accountable to a group of largely unknown strangers who may prove merciless in their criticism if I don’t follow through. Moreover, I still have gosh knows how much content to produce on the subject – if I crash and burn, what will I write about?! No one wants to hear apologies and excuses, they are so played out!
So here we go homebodies, I’m going to lay out my personal goals for the next year, in a way that gives me no satisfaction, and if I fail to follow through, have at me! I’m not telling my friends or family – this quest is our secret.
There are many proverbs about health, none truer than this:
“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.” P.T. Barnum