Chalene Johnson talks about energy and motivation as if it’s so easy — flip the switch, she says. It’s all mental. YOU decide to be energetic and motivated.  Flip the switch and take action.

Wait. It’s not that easy. What if we’re REALLY tired?  Or what if we’ve had a REALLY busy day?  On those days, finding energy and motivation can’t be as easy as flipping some mental swtich?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Here’s a hypothetical:  It’s your senior year of college.  You’ve got a nasty cold. You’re up all night coughing and it’s final exam time.  You have one last exam to pass before you can graduate.  4 years of hard work, late nights, expensive tuition and it all comes down to one last all-nighter and some irritated bronchials.  What do you do?  Most of you, unless you have a family member that can write you a doctor’s note, pound the Dayquil and the coffee, study your butt off, get no sleep, pass that final exam and hit the bars with your friends to celebrate afterwards (oh yeah, the cough mysteriously vanished just in time to pull on your finest spandex and heels.  A miracle!)

Here’s another hypothetical:  You’ve met the love of your life.  Angels and birds sing when you look at him/her.  You see your unborn children in their eyes or some such crap.  And it’s time for the meet the parents dinner.  But that day is a miserable day.  Your car doesn’t start and you’re late for work.  Your boss yells at you and you can tell your co-workers were gossiping about you in the lunchroom.  You get home and your cat has thrown up all over your carpet and your toilet is overflowing.  What do you do?  Do you cancel on your future in-laws at the last minute?  Do you show up for dinner and sulk quietly because it was such a bad day?  Do you cry at the dinner table?  I hope not.  I hope you gather your inner resources and charm the pants off those future in-laws, regaling them with humorous stories about trying to plunge a toilet and put mascara on at the same time.  You sparkle, you bubble even though your day sucked.

Final hypothetical:  You’re taking the bus home from the grocery store (or T or some other germ-infested omnibus transport) and as it’s pulling away, you realize you’ve left your purse on the bus. How about this: you realize you’ve left your CHILD on the bus.  The next stop is about a block away.  What do you do?  Are you tired after running all your errands?  Do you walk briskly because you hate to run? Or do you haul ass like the devil himself is after you to retrieve your purse or child?

My point is this:  humans have untold inner resources that, thankfully, we seldom need to test.  Unfortunately, this means that when our everyday lives start to go a little rough, we sit down and use it as an excuse to not eat well or not move our bodies.  We feel that we simply haven’t the mental or physical strength to push ourselves any further.  I propose that this is not true. We believe we are weak or lack energy or motivation simply because we do not push ourselves beyond our current comfort level and find those inner resources.  I suspect that the willingness to extend ourselves beyond our comfort level is a skill that, like running or pushups or situps, is an important test of our fitness level.  People who are willing to “Just Do It” — whether “it” is eating veggies they hate or doing exercises that are hard or cooking their dinner when they’d rather just collapse on the couch and veg — are the ones who attain the fitness prize.  They are the ones who do what others will not do.

So… decide. Flip the switch.  Who are you going to be?