Facing Down Someday

jen-waak-keyboard-athletesLynette finished off last week’s Heart Month posts with her super simple tip for relieving stress.

Today Jen is here to talk to us about making exercise fun and finding the biggest motivator of all – your “Why?”

Someday is one of those dangerous words. Kind of like the phrase “at risk for” it’s nebulous enough that any phrase uttered with the phrase “someday” in it goes in one ear and out the other.

Except when it comes to our health, “someday” often shows up, right in our face, when we least expect it. My Mom died of a massive heart attack when she was 47 – and as a senior in college, mortality and “someday” came right up and smacked me in the face. Hard.

With the benefit of hindsight, I know now that she had all of the risk symptoms, but when you are in your 40s you aren’t supposed to die. And as a college senior, you aren’t supposed to miss homecoming weekend to go plan your Mom’s funeral. That’s not how life is supposed to work.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]0241958229[/amazon-product]

And with that, my life changed. Not just because I no longer had my Mom, but because I became absolutely, 100% committed to that NOT being me. I instinctively knew that taking care of myself was going to be the key. But as someone who grew up a sick little kid, I didn’t exactly have the “exercise gene” or have a lifetime of good habits to fall back on.

And I still don’t.

For me to be successful in taking care of myself I needed some sort of reward bigger than that nebulous “someday.” “Someday” was enough to inspire me to short bursts of activity and keep me looking for answers, but it was never tangible enough for me to keep at it just for the sake of “someday.”

Finding My Why

I already had my big-picture why: I don’t want to die in my 40s. But, it was turning out not to be enough to keep me going day after day and week after week.

Simon Sinek, in his brilliant book, Start with Why, says that people don’t buy from you because of what you do – rather, they buy from you because of WHY you do it. Modern neuroscience tells us that even the most “left-brained” person still makes buying decisions emotionally – whether they realize it or not. And, making the decision to change your habits to go take better care of yourself is a mental buying decision. You are now buying into the belief that taking the time to exercise is going to be better for you than your current behavior.

I still hate to “exercise” but I love to have fun, accomplish things, and be good at stuff. So, I frame all of my “exercise” around those types of activities. My current love affair is with the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira, but over the years I’ve done a variety of martial arts, dance, hiking, and I just learned to hula hoop.

The key is fun – because fun is sustainable. Is it a walk with friends? A dance party in the living room? Playing a pickup game?

What moves you? What is your why?

Jen Waak is a wellness coach in Seattle, WA, and author of Keyboard Athletes Guide to Pain Relief & Prevention. A recovering management consultant herself, Jen loves teaching entrepreneurs and other crazy-busy professionals how to have more energy, relieve common aches and pains, alleviate computer eyes, and genuinely feel AWESOME. Get Jen’s free Energy Booster e-Course.

We’d like to thank Philips for sending us an Avance juicer and Abel and Cole for our delicious fruit and vegetable boxes so we can keep ourselves fit and healthy too!


  1. April H on February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Great article! I like to do Zumba because it’s fun. I also do the Dance revolution video games!

  2. nadine sellers on February 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    the language of this post is so forgiving, it feels warm and conducive to possibility…my why is engaged by the prospect of doing what i normally do and want to keep doing, running up and down stairs, shoveling sand and clay and adding these thoughts to my usual routines with gusto, thank you jenn and mrs green..

  3. Mrs Green on February 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Jen thanks so much for a fantastic article. I’m going to read the book you recommend and your simple idea of finding your why is so profound. Thank YOU for sharing such insight with us 🙂

  4. Jen Waak on March 4, 2012 at 3:15 am

    @nadine sellers: Thank you, Nadine. I’m glad you liked the post, and I truly appreciate your comment about the tone of my post. I find that there is enough blame, guilt, and “tough love” in the health and fitness world (and in our own heads) that is non-productive – so if I can be a voice of reason and compassion for people that I’m happy to do that.

  5. Jen Waak on March 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

    @Mrs Green: I think you’ll really like the book. It’s actually a sales and marketing book, but it applies just as well in this arena. You can also just watch this TED talk and get the gist of the book.