Last night at a party, I met two women over 60 who were full of enthusiasm and looked as fit as kids in their 20’s. They are so admirable. One plays tennis constantly and swims four times a week. The other does cardio/ellipticals/machines at the gym four days a week, even though she has a full-time job! How do they do it? Squeeze it in to their busy schedules? Not be diverted by all of life’s demands? What I really want to know is why doesn’t it inspire me to be even half that disciplined myself?

I know that role models are helpful. That if so-and-so can do it, then maybe I can too. That’s why sports stars, other celebrities and successes who rose from disadvantaged backgrounds return to the slums or orphanages and preach to youngsters that they can do it too. Have a vision, be determined, stick with it, and maybe you will reach your dream. Rocky climbs the steps at the Philadelphia Museum, and you can hear the same music when you reach your own new height or goal.

But it doesn’t seem to work for me. I can’t make myself get to the gym, do push ups at home, or lift a few weights in my son’s room. Why not?

Clearly I am not lazy—I can hit tennis balls for hours. And I have no trouble being disciplined about my diet, avoiding delicious tastes effortlessly, while others at the table indulge their food passions ecstatically. I am not tempted in the slightest, though I gave in to a half spoonful of homemade fudge on vanilla ice cream the other day that my daughter insisted I sample…while she ate three large scoops swimming in the sauce. Big deal. People laugh at my avoidances all the time.

I hear that people smoke for years, unable to stop, and then suddenly call it quits. I see that people gain weight for years and then unexpectedly decide to lose weight. What happens in their minds to change their behavior so dramatically? How are they able to lose their long-time—perhaps lifetime—addictions?

Something changes. Even when it isn’t life-threatening, like a heart attack or a fall from too much weight. Are you just supposed to wait around until you are so fed up with your bad habits or lack of action that your body has to take a different path? Or until your brain is simply restless for any kind of change? I need to know. But stopping yourself from doing something harmful is very different, it seems, from starting an action like constant exercise. It is so hard for me, feels like such hard work. Don’t you agree? It takes so much effort.

But I believe it shouldn’t be so difficult. It should be easier to accomplish. Just drop down and do a few push ups or crunches before I eat. Pick up a few weights. What stops me—us—from making those little efforts.

I have almost finished doing my taxes for 2010. I hate it. I delay, I procrastinate. But I always complete them on time…that is by the final October extension date. No matter how much or often I distract myself from sitting down and just pulling the numbers together, I know that I will eventually make myself do it. And I do. But that’s a deadline. Most people respond to deadlines. I have no deadlines for making muscles…I can always do that next week, when I am not so busy…

Sometimes I am in a funk and just can’t make myself call friends or do certain kinds of mental work. But I know that that mood and inaction will pass. I am very patient now about waiting calmly until this cloud over me dissipates, the sun peers through and I am ready once again, energetic AND ABLE EASILY to accomplish what I need or want to happen.

However I have been waiting for decades to be lifting weights effortlessly…at least from a mental point of view…but that funk is still there. It is an agony to get going. It never seems to happen with any regularity. Only a few spurts now and then, and one big period a few years ago, before I started this site. I can’t make myself give up. I still have the dream. Calling it a vision is too generous…maybe fantasy is a more accurate description.

Nevertheless I have it, the desire to be more muscular, more defined, able to be stronger, lift more weights, execute more pull ups and chin ups and push ups or press ups and look in the mirror and see a reflection that I don’t even recognize that just couldn’t be me, because it never has been more than a dream, and now…then…it appears to be a reality. Any suggestions?

…I may be delusional, but somehow, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I still hold on to the belief that I will someday become serious, miraculously do the work, build the muscle that I “want” and change how I look. And it will all happen BEFORE I am dead! Amazing isn’t it?