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Baby, are we going to exercise today?

In late 2009, we made a decision that has left a profound impact on our lives and marriage. It was a cold winter morning, and we were hesitant to get out of bed because the warm sheets were more appealing than the cold outside.

I asked my wife, “Baby, are we going to exercise today?”

She gave a deep sigh and said, “It is too cold; let us stay in.”

She was 100 percent correct because it was too early, and the weather was not on our side. We had been through this exchange many times, especially that year, as we had begun another effort to work out together, and 99 percent of the time, we ended up not going out to exercise. But there was something different about that particular morning. We felt that asking the wrong question always resulted in the wrong answer.

Instead of asking IF we were going to exercise, we should be asking: How warm should we dress to go out and exercise?

That particular morning, we decided that we should never ask each other if we were going to exercise or not. We agreed that each morning when we got up, we should get out and exercise, come rain or come shine, and that is what we have done five times a week for almost a decade now. We had previously tried to exercise together over a ten-year period and failed!

But the road to this moment of decision was a long and difficult one. For more than ten years, when we tried to exercise, we failed miserably. We failed because we had no game plan. In addition, we were not able to develop consistency and persistence. Therefore, we could not make it a habit. The other reason is that we did not give careful thought to what we were about to do and had no set goals.

Without a game plan and no sense of direction, our why had eluded us, and after many false starts, we had given up.

Apart from the fact that we had no strong why, we were living in a different country and had no support because our close family members were more than eight thousand miles away in Cameroon.

We are mentioning this because we were a young couple going to school and raising a young family. My wife was in an undergraduate program, and I was in graduate school doing a doctorate in geosciences. Therefore, time was a scarce commodity.

In addition to the demands of school, we had three young children who were totally dependent on us. They were all underage, and it was not possible to leave them unattended and go out for exercise.

To make matters worse, we did not grow up exercising regularly, and exercise was not top on our list of priorities. In short, there were no role models for us to follow, and we were clueless about what to do. The list of excuses can go on and on, but the sad reality is that we were not exercising.

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