I don’t often invoke the words of past girlfriends, but “You’re doing it wrong” just works so well here.
Let’s start with what I’m doing (and in my defence I have no idea what I’m doing). I do standup comedy professionally and work as an actor in film and television. I stumble through life fooling people into ultimately entertaining themselves, and so far no one has said, “Stop this foolishness.” So when I was invited last year to become a men’s health champion for the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, and it came time to take part in a promotion during Men’s Health Week, I was super-psyched.
To promote men’s health, I came up with an idea. I posted something on social media, and said I would do one jumping jack for every like, follow, etc. it received. Sounds simple, right?
Well, turns out I did it wrong.
I owe approximately 1,800 jumping jacks. This poor schlub who was promoting “small changes” was looking down the barrel of a big one. So I handled it like an adult. I ignored it and hummed to myself so it would just go away.
I’m gonna get to those jumping jacks, I will, one way or another. But I need a better strategy if I’m committing to live healthier. So I’ve turned to the Weekly Health Tips. You know the ones we get emailed every week that we eye with hope and measured suspicion. I look at them quietly, in private, so as not to garner too much attention to the fact that I know all about my shortcomings. I would rather get caught looking at porn than let someone see that I am trying to work on myself, but I digress…
I’m the kind of guy who hears “don’t eat 6 hours before bed,” and in order to do that I turn in at 4am. Park at the far end of the parking lot? That’s no problem when you shop at a downtown grocery store where the parking lot holds like 15 cars. Eat more colours? That’s easy! My pizza came with a red, green, white and orange dipping sauce.
Once again, it turns out I was doing it wrong. OK, it may not have been quite that bad, but I noticed a pattern. I would do far more to avoid pain than I would to gain pleasure. These people that run only because it makes them feel good are freaks, right? Sure I’d park on the outskirts of a big box parking lot and walk in, but really I was avoiding the monotony of finding a parking spot.
I’ve been following these Weekly Health Tips for a while, and over the next few weeks will share some of my own personal highlights. In the meantime, I owe you something — 1,800 somethings in fact. I’m not attempting to do 1,800 jumping jacks every day, but technically, doing a few jumping jacks a day is infinitely better than what I have been doing. You know, the ol’ eat an elephant one bite at a time idea. I’m not sure the world really needs this video, but it’s what I have after making good on what I made wrong. What do you say we try not to cock this up moving forward? In other words, let’s get our shit together, together. You in?
Toby Hargrave is a B.C.-based film and TV actor, radio personality, and award-winning veteran of North America’s standup circuit. Described as a “happy Hagrid” owing to his resemblance to Harry Potter’s oversized pal, Toby often pokes fun at his “casual” approach to wellness. Behind the scenes, however, he wanted to live healthier, and that’s when his inspiring Don’t Change Much journey began. Visit Toby’s Website for more information.