Is the After Worth the Before?

Yesterday. 4pm. I had barely moved all day. Buried in work, stuck in front of my computer, the hours flew by and by the time I looked up, the sun was already starting to fall low on the horizon.

As the sun began to set, I struggled with a decision. Should  I go for a run? Maybe ride the bike for a bit? Do some weights? Do I have time? Can I put my work down? Will these emails get answered? Should I just put off the workout to tomorrow?

I literally stood up, told my wife that I was going to go for a run, then sat back down. I was tired. I was lazy. My mind was drained from a full day of work.

But then I stood back up, quickly threw on some clothes, put on my shoes, and ran out the door. I took a step, then another, and before I knew it, I was off.

An hour later, I had ran three miles, spent 15 minutes on the bike, and got some crunches and weights in. I showered. Ate dinner. Relaxed. And felt exponentially better about myself.

Decisions, at least the one’s that matter, that have impact, and that make a difference, are never easy.

This simple, maybe not-so-interesting story illustrates one critical question you ask and will continue to be forced to face time and time again:

Is the “after” effect worth the “before” effort?

If the answer to the question is no – don’t do it. Focus on something else. Don’t half ass it.

If the answer is yes - do it. Do it again and again. Go all in. Hold nothing back.

Every time you’re faced with that feeling of dread, laziness, or doubt, remind yourself that if the “after” matters, the “before” is always, always worth it.

(Photo credit)


12 Responses
  • David Moore Reply

    It doesn’t matter how many times we have that workout “afterglow” and think “I’m so glad I did that”…the “before” mind wrestle is still there.  Most of the time we beat it, but sometimes we don’t.  But the more we do, the more progress we make and ultimately that transfers into other areas and has impact.  Then the “before” is REALLY worth it.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I agree, David. Overcoming the “before” is something we’ll forever be tasked with. But through experience, through doing, overcoming the before, establishing a rhythm, it gets easier, and the after becomes all-the-more worth it. 

  • Jessie Spielvogel Reply

    As always, brilliant! I had a similar experience last week. I put on all my clothes to go for a run, then decided I was too tired and it was too cold outside, so I sat back down. THEN I saw someone post on Twitter that there was an 8 month pregnant lady doing full on squats in the gym… and I figured if she could do it, I could get off my butt and do it, too. (You know… since I dont have that whole pregnancy issue holding me back n stuff…) Felt great afterward :) 

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks, Jessie. How’s your week going? I bet things are crazy in your neck of the woods! :) – Cheers for getting up and making it happen – and don’t shy away from the cold weather. It’s only cold when you get started, once you get going, you warm up pretty quick. Can’t wait to catch up soon after everything that’s happening in your world this week!

  • Srinivas Rao Reply

    I find it to be the same on those mornings when I’m wondering if I should go out and surf. When I get back I’m always happy I did (except on the days that I think I’m going to drown). But even those bad surf days teach some valuable lessons. 

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hear, hear, Srini. The toughest part is taking the first step. Or in your case, catching the first wave? Like what I did there? 

  • sameve Reply

    So true. All too often, we let our anticipation, assumptions and fears discourage us from doing things, even without knowing if they will ever come to fruition. If we think something is worth it, we have to be willing to take the risk and/or endure the uphill climb. There are definitely days when I have absolutely no interest in going to the gym, but I’m always so glad I did. 

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Yes. And once you do it enough – really making it a part of your routine, the before “this is going to suck” feeling starts to subside…

  • Alexia Reply

    I was about to read this post this morning but then I got distracted. And then I bailed on the gym and felt guilty all day. Damn it! If only I had gotten round to reading it when I meant! Thank you for getting my ass to Pilates tomorrow, in any case.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      That’s why you should ALWAYS start your day with a dose of Life Without Pants. Let this be a lesson learned :) Knock the Pilates dead minana! :)

  • digital marxist Reply

    Quite agree – it’s this kind of thing that makes for a better quality of life. If you’re just stuck behind your desk and feeling sluggish then it’s surely no better than just going through the motions in the corporate world! Working all day then just getting home eating pizza and feeling frazzled!

    Have to admit I struggle with the motivation thing when working all day, setting up a small business, and looking after two small children. But sometimes you just have to force yourself to go for that run or head to the gym. You know you feel better in the long run!

    How’s the marathon training going?

Leave a Reply