I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

But when do I ever do that? Not long ago, I wrote a blog post for The Wall Street Journal called, “The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don’t Talk So Much.” I recommended 5 tips for marital bliss, including the three in the title, and also lose weight and “scheme.”

The comments from readers came rushing in. Some people hated me. “This article is truly disgusting… I am re-setting my home page to the NYT in protest.”

Others thought I had a knack for stating the obvious: “I do the dishes. I shut up when shutting up is appropriate. I take care of my body. I put out. That’s what makes a good spouse of any gender. That’s what my mom and dad, married for 48 years, do as well.”

I stand by those tips, but I will say this: It’s one thing to dish out advice, and it’s another thing to take it. I’m thinking about tip #2: Lose weight. This one’s been especially hard for me since having a baby. Not that I need to lose weight–but I do need to exercise more. I find a ton of excuses for not being able to make it to the gym or the yoga studio. And I’m constantly coming up with new schemes, like joining the gym at work and running on the treadmill from 2:30 to 3 pm daily, or blowing a ton of cash on a 3-day-a-week boot camp run by former Navy SEALS, or running to the subway and then taking the subway to work, or doing the 30-Day Shred DVD, or Tracy Anderson’s insane ab routine. Here’s me taking a Kettle Bells class that I thought would get me motivated–but that lasted exactly one class.

I just can’t stick to anything. There’s always something else I’d rather be doing, like hanging out with my kid, or channel surfing, or cooking, or drinking copious amounts of alcohol. This morning I had plenty of time to get some exercise in. But what did I do? Sat on my ass blogging.

Can anyone help me? Please?

Posted in commitment

20 Responses to I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

  1. Dainius says:

    Stay calm, fcuk what others think and do your own business. I still subscribe you :)
    Some positions and statements good for one, others for another. There are NO competitors in marriage! There are PARTNERS. For that sometimes you forgive things you can’t/don’t forgive others. Tolerate more than others. And expect help and support more than from others.
    I think your position is good and up to you.
    Keep going forward!

  2. Meagan says:

    I have trouble sticking to any workout program that is exercise for the sake of exercise. I’m pregnant right now so having to rely on walking and netflix encouraged recumbant bike, but normally I get my exercise in through fencing. I need the sport aspect to keep me interested, but the advantage of fencing is that because it’s an individual sport there are no teamates to depend on my commitment or coordinate with. It also allows gradual advancement of fitness level without much noticing the difference in effort required… unlike most team sports I’ve done where you have to spend a decent chunk of time running just to get to the point where you can enjoy the sport.

  3. Mrs. K says:

    You need a girlfriend or personal trainer ( depending on your disposable income) to show up at your doorstep at a specified time 5 days a week and exercise with you :)

  4. Mrs. K says:

    By the way, loved your book and enjoy the blog, too.

  5. There are two keys to this. First, you have to figure out if you are a loner, or a team player. If you are a loner, find something you like and just start doing it. I suggest walking to start – it is free, and will help prepare your body for more changes to come.

    If you are a team player, you will need to probably pay a health club and attend classes there. You again need to find an activity you like, whether it is basketball, soccer, zumba, or whatever.

    I am the loner type and am very highly self motivated, so it isn’t that big of a deal for me to head to the basement and ride an hour and a half on my bicycle trainer. Many people can’t do this, like my wife – she MUST be in a setting where they are other people working out and motivating her (she likes a class called Body Pump).

    Once you decide which type of person you are, and what you like, just do it and quit making stupid excuses.

  6. Bill Clay says:

    What can you do – find ways to sneak exercise in. Like hanging out with your kid? Walk to the park or bike there. Push them on the swing. Yup – that’s hidden exercise that adds up.

    When I coach youth soccer, they hate to run. So we don’t run as part of our training. But let me tell you, they run miles when doing ‘ball work’ drills and other skill development. They think they’re working on their 1 v 1 skills and they are. They’re also running a 1/4 over the course of that drill. Combined with another 1/2 dozen or so drills, the running starts to add up. But the best part is, they’re having fun because they’re not ‘running’ as part of thier training.

    So my advice is to think of how you can ‘not run’ during your daily routine.

  7. Jessica says:

    I love my Wii Fit. I can track my progress, see my balance and strength improving, and compete against my husband. I wasn’t using it for a while until I started a Happiness Project, and now I have to check off on my chart that I’ve exercised. That little bit of accountability has made the difference. My husband also bought me Wii Fit Plus when he heard that I was starting the project and exercising was one of my first goals. I love that I can select areas to work on and it automatically creates a workout for me. It keeps me from avoiding the exercises I wouldn’t do otherwise because I save so much time having it pick for me than having to decide every time which exercise to do next. Anyway, I know it’s not in everyone’s budget if you don’t already have a Wii, but I love it. I’ve heard there are other good ones for other game systems as well.

    • Paula says:

      oh my god — a wii fit. i never thought of that. don’t own a wii and video games scare me but now THAT seems kind of fun.

  8. Olga says:

    Try dailyburn.com. I have had (and still have) problems with sticking with the exercise routine, but making exercise part of my schedule (regularly putting it in as other tasks) have actually helped me to exercise more. I do like the idea of Wii Fit or any other device/mechanism that takes out any type of guessing out of your routine. Make the routine as easy to start as possible. Then once you stick to it for sometime, try to switch a bit.

  9. Alice says:

    Call me: I’ll bring my Nike Fit Club app and my pretending-I’m-clubbing playlist.

  10. Jessie K says:

    Try squeezing your buttocks while blogging?

  11. Sally C says:


    The answer is that you will do it when it really matters to you. In the meantime, stop beating yourself up.

  12. Tony says:

    I think Economist Dean Karlan might have an answer for you:


    Of course, I’m not one to talk. All I can do is comment, instead of trying to lose a few pounds myself.

  13. And a new competitor to stickK, more focused on visualizing progress: http://beeminder.com (disclosure: my baby).

  14. Pingback: Fab Posts Fridays: An Awesome Non Mom Rant, Pink Decor Ideas, Honeymoon Horror and Lots More! | Man Wife And Dog Blog

  15. SV says:

    I am learning playing violin and I am obliged to go every week to the class. The instructor kinda needs the money to pay her bills, that gives me enough motivation to keep going :) Otherwise I would have given it up long time back too

  16. Dave Tufte says:

    Build a desk for a laptop around a stationary bike or trainer. Then multi-task while reading stuff …

    P.S. That photo looks like City Park outside the New Orleans Museum of Art, but I’m thinking that it isn’t.

  17. Jocelyn says:

    It can be hard to maintain focus on areas we know we need to improve. I would say the best thing to do to get focused is to set goals with real rewards. If you drop 10lbs in 1-2 months then buy yourself a new bathing suit. The more weight you lose, just keep rewarding yourself with things that make you feel sexy. The better you feel about your progress the more you’ll want to stick to your goal. Good luck!

  18. Erika says:

    The only way that works for me is too pay money 2x a week for an awesome trainer…..otherwise it WILL never happen! Paying your hard earned money is motivation to go and get the most out of it. Go to Rich Barretta personal trainers. They will kick your butt!

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