Show Up Tomorrow

As a busy physician and parent of four hoodlums, the only time for myself is the hours between 430 and 630 am. I get up, throw my hair in a ponytail, grab my gym bag and a cup of Nespresso, and drive 30 minutes to my Crossfit box (aka gym; yes, it’s a cult). By the time I arrive 5:25 am, I am semi-conscious and at the mercy of a coach who takes me through ridiculous stretches, a weightlifting session that involves my therapist aka the barbell, followed by some type of cardio workout.


Somewhere, normally around 6:03 am, I have these thoughts:


“Why am I doing this? Do I really hate myself this much?”

“This is so dumb. I am going to die, and I’m letting some 20-something millennial usher me to an arrhythmia.”

“Just stop. This is not a prison. No one can make you finish.”

“Why did you have that wine last pm? You have to do at least 30 more burpees to burn it off.”


Then, as the buzzer sounds around 6:25 am, this:


“You are amazing, how many women are sleeping right now? Not you!”

“Bring on the day. Nothing will seem difficult after what you just accomplished!”

“ I am so glad I finished. I am not a quitter!”

“You SO deserve wine tonight.”


And repeat.


The more I travel, the more difficult it is for me to get back into my routine. I feel out of sorts and tell myself I can “start tomorrow”. In a few days, I can easily convince myself I am never going to the Olympics, or Crossfit Games, thus skipping won’t matter five years from now. I tell myself if I really ENJOYED it, I would WANT to go. It must not be my thing.


Lies. Lies. Lies. The very thing that made me feel amazing 24 hours ago seems like a complete waste of time.


Then I hit snooze, follow the routine and not my negative thoughts, cuss in my head that my good reasoning won, and throw on my tennis shoes.


I once heard a pro golfer speak who has won dozens of golf tournaments. He said every day he would get up to practice his swing and do conditioning for 2 hours, for over 10 years. And every morning as he lay in bed, when his alarm went off he had to convince himself to get up and do it. His desire to put in the work did not come naturally to him, despite all of his amazing accomplishments and being one of the best golfers in history. But he did it, ignoring his feelings, simply because he knew it was right.


This spoke to me. The fact is, we can’t always trust our inner voice. Your health is hard work. Period. We aren’t going to “feel” ourselves into a healthy lifestyle, or our necessary discipline, or the uncomfortable feeling of addressing our weaknesses. You would think, after time, our body and our minds would crave discipline; it would get easier to work hard at things we know are good for us but don’t feel great to do at the moment.


This is not true.


Thank God people continue to show up despite their feelings or inspiration level. Thank goodness mothers still mother when they don’t feel like it, doctors answer pages when they don’t want to, and military personnel run drills hundreds of times so when they have to engage their performance is routine. Thank goodness people work through problems with one another even when they aren’t “feeling it”, scientists complete studies when they aren’t necessarily inspired, and teachers educate even when they don’t think it matters.


We all have negative feelings, voices and thoughts that combat our ability to show up, to persist. We must do what we know is right, not what we “feel”. Sometimes just showing up is enough.


As a mentor once told me after a really horrible day: “Show up tomorrow. You must show up tomorrow.”


Take heart. It is enough to show up. I think there is a reason the sun rises each morning, over and over. Will you?