I used to be a Sunday lover, couch surfer, professional in laying down and relaxing. At any possible time and, if possible, all the time.
That guy is long gone. He figured that there was more to life than relaxing and like everything else in life, sitting and resting are also essential and have their own time and place but that, definitely, isn't all the time.
I had received some advice from Fitness Expert and Creator of the 12 Week Body Transformation Challenge, Stephen Campolo. He says that when it comes to making exercise fun with your family, don't think of it as exercise. Just become more active with your kids and do things with them that keeps them moving but is also fun at the same time. Playing sports, riding bikes, playing at the park are all things you can do that is exercise but doesn't feel like it because it is enjoyable. Find things that are fun and require activity. This is key.
When I first started going out for some exercising, I didn't really take it that seriously. I did it, so I could leave the house and feel better about my day. It actually worked.
It's a baby step that will lead you to greater ones and, once you realize, you're climbing a mountain - for fun. Sometimes literally.
That was it for me. I got so used to getting out for a walk and a run that it soon became part of my routine, and I was only occasionally thinking that my sofa was probably missing me. It didn't matter anymore.
That lifted eyebrow my girlfriend used to give me when I left for my daily walk or run eventually turned into one of intrigued wonder.
If in the beginning, she assumed I was only going to keep this going for a couple of days until I found myself back on the sofa, she was now asking me questions about this habit of mine and, she was curious.
Before I noticed it, she was also taking the time to go out for a walk with me, which turned into our "alone time" together after years of being together.
It's incredible how something that you start doing for the sake of it can become something else that strengthens the bond you have with someone else.
It wasn't long until we got our kids in the equation. They love anything that's on the TV - I swear sometimes I could put a still picture on it, and he'd still rather sit there watching it than be forced to move. The other one has long forgotten there is life outside the phone or any other device that is equipped with an internet connection. I seriously have thought I can't take him anywhere without a guaranteed Wi-Fi connection!
So we got that miracle going and dragged our kids out of the house. There were some unhappy faces that were opposite to our enthusiasm. There was some whining and some claims that this was the worst day. Ever.
Except it wasn't. Soon enough these little two creatures that I used to hold close to my chest were actually enjoying doing something that was both outside the house and that included their parents. You know, those two grown-ups that cook their food and basically take them any and everywhere!
We walked slowly and casually to the park next to our house. I swear I couldn't remember the last time the four of us had been there.
As we made our way there, I could feel my memory recording these precious moments as if I needed to squeeze every single second of this. It wasn't Christmas, no, it was just priceless family time with my girlfriend and kids!
You know you're happy when you're on the same page as your whole family. But getting everyone in the house to agree to something positive is harder to achieve than solving the Climate Crisis. What first started as a walk is now a habit that results in a longer sofa lifespan and fewer terabytes of doubtful quality internet traffic.
They are happier kids than they've ever been. I'm a happier parent than I can remember. And it's all due to that little step you force yourself - at first - out of the house. Once you bring that positive change into your life, the ones that love you will follow. You'll soon find a healthier and happier family core. One that truly enjoys spending time together, challenges each other to go faster and further and, definitely, one that only leaves the couch during that Sunday night flick - together!