I’m changing my life in twenty minutes a day

I was sitting on the couch. Content. Happy. It was such a good feeling.
I am not the naturally bubbly and cheerful type: my nickname in High School was Grouchy Smurph so I pondered the cause of this sudden upturn in my disposition. My circumstances had not changed. Could it simply the “right time” of the month and my hormones were having a good day?
Then it hit me: I had started exercising again a couple of weeks earlier. Bingo!
The magic wand of physical exertion had turned grouchy Smurph into Happy (the dwarf in Snow White). Amazing!

I’ll tell it like it is: I exercise to fit in the skinny jeans. Until now, that had always been my primary motivation. This time it’s different; I am experiencing down to my core that the benefits do indeed go beyond shedding a few pounds.

I had been inactive for three months; my longest streak of couch potato-ing.
I’ve only been back two weeks, I’m only working out for twenty minutes, and I feel like a brand new person.
It’s nice that the jeans fit better but the real grand prize is the joy I’m feeling.
My energy levels have soared too. I wake up at 6 am without an alarm.
I get a lot done and cheerfully.
A few days ago, I came out of the office late afternoon and went straight to cooking dinner. When I realized that my husband wouldn’t be able to eat what I made, I cooked him something else. I even let my daughter help (I usually prefer to do it all myself for the sake of going faster). It was 6 pm, not always my best hour of the day yet here I was buzzing around the kitchen like a mad woman; a happy mad woman.

Twenty minutes of working out in exchange for hours of feeling warm and fuzzy; I would say that is a very wise investment and I’m not the only one benefiting: my husband and daughter are equally thrilled.

When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy right?

The key is to keep the momentum going. Exercising is not a habit yet. I have to be diligent when I wake up and make the right choice; I have to be willing to take my daily dose of medicine. If there ever was a magic pill, exercise is it. Free for the taking.
Yet I also know that this is the honeymoon phase: I must not take the feelings for granted and assume that I’ll continue to feel the same way without continuing to make an effort.

Sounds a lot like marriage, doesn’t it?
During the dating process, we take care of ourselves and take care of our mate. We make him a priority. We make looking good for him a priority. We put his happiness and well being at the top of the list.

Then we get married and it all goes out the window, at least for a lot of us. Gradually… slowly but surely, some women cease to make an effort. They think that the return on their initial investment will last a lifetime. It doesn’t.

What we put in is what we get out. It’s true for physical fitness. It’s true for relationships.

Imagine investing twenty minutes a day in your husband too. I can tell you from experience that it goes such a long way towards my own happiness.
Just like exercising, wife-ing doesn’t have to be complicated.
It’s easy to hug him when I wake up.
It’s easy to smile and say good morning. (We usually extend this courtesy to our colleagues and friends, why not to our spouse?)
It’s easy to hold hands at night when we fall asleep.
It’s easy to say thank you when he does something for me (even if he’s “supposed to” do it anyway).
My husband’s love language is Words of appreciation so I have a notebook in which I write down short notes to express my appreciation for who he is and what he does for our family. It takes me five minutes to do and yet…I know it means the world to him. I’m sure he’ll treasure this notebook forever.

We’re all busy.
We all have too much on our plate.
All the more reason to be purposeful. To invest those minutes wisely.
Invest them in what matters.
Invest them in who matters. That means the ones you love and that means YOU.

Put in sweat, get energy and happiness out.
Put in kindness, get love and joy out.

All in twenty minutes a day… Worth it, wouldn’t you say?

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