A woman is running on the treadmill next to me at the gym, moaning and complaining the whole time. How miserable she is at having to work out, how hard it is to get herself to the gym knowing she’s in for an hour of pain. How she’d rather do pretty much anything other than deal with exercise machines and lifting weights and making herself “do just one more.”

Tired of hearing her litany of woes, I turned to her as I got off my treadmill and said “So don’t.” “Don’t what?” “Don’t work out if you hate it so much.” “Yeah, right. How am I supposed to stay fit and energized if I don’t work out?” “Try another approach.”

She looked at me as if I’d totally lost it. “Whatever.” “No, really. You could take up pickleball or running or tennis or Zumba or any form of dance. There are umpteen ways of staying fit. You don’t need to make yourself miserable.” “Fine, whatever,” she replied, obviously not having any of it.

And I thought, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we stick with something that makes us miserable? Life is meant for joy! Not misery. Yes, of course, there are circumstances and events in our lives that cause us pain and unhappiness. But much of the time, we are the architects of our own lack of joy. We put up with jobs we don’t like, relationships that aren’t a fit for us, follow the trend of the day even when it doesn’t feel good, and on and on.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to stay with whatever choice we made that no longer brings us satisfaction. We can forge a different path, explore something else and take the risk of leaving the familiar. Because that’s where we get stuck. On the familiar. On the tried and true, whatever that means for us. We’d rather stick with what we know, even if we don’t like it.

Rebel! Refuse to be unhappy. Take one small step in the direction of something that might, just might, bring you more satisfaction. Try it. Take another small step. If you don’t like it, no worries, go try something else. With a small step. Then another and another. It may take a while, but surely a life of discovery and adventure is more pleasing than decades of complaining. Just sayin’.

Life is meant for joy. As much as you possibly can, enjoy it!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and others. She is the author of "Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes" (written after her home burned in the 2018 Woolsey Fire) and “The Longevity Secret, How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond” (Amazon Kindle) . Visit www.noellenelson.com, https://www.facebook.com/MeetTheAmazings, and listen to her podcast Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical on Spotify and on YouTube.