How one man quit being a couch potato and started living life to the full

I was 34 years old when I realized I’d become a complete and utter couch potato.

I had begun wheezing, and my heart and joints ached, but the main reason I finally decided to change my life was a simple scare when I saw my own face in a picture with my friends. That was when I swore to myself I’d find the way out of this situation.

I started digging out of the cesspit in which I was living.

The first thing I did was change my perspective and look at myself. What I saw was horrible — an apartment crammed with endless souvenirs, furniture, papers, books, and other things (who knows when I’ll use them?), and right in the center of this dump of a dwelling was a fat and clumsy man. When this man went through his crowded apartment to his cramped kitchen, his hands shook with weakness and chronic hunger. The general condition upon seeing all of this could be described in two words: panic and frustration. I couldn’t understand what was going on with me; I couldn’t take control of my life. Everything around me tore me apart. The wall posters appealed to me with their promises of a vacation that I couldn’t afford, souvenirs and gifts of long ago sent me to times that had passed, and the fridge urged me to have food and rest. All the while, my phone rang, and voices from outside insisted that I take my butt off the couch and start working.

What I did to put myself together again was turn off the phone and start disposing of everything that anchored me to anything else. I began by dumping the souvenirs, memorabilia, books and magazines I didn’t read, and all the other stuff I had thought I would need some time later. Then I threw out half my furniture and freed the kitchen from waste along with most of the food and kitchenware, only leaving a few necessities.

It was the craziest thing I’ve done in my life

In a couple of days, I found myself living in a clean and almost empty apartment with whitewashed walls, in tone with the snow outside. My office contained only a desk and a chair, and in my bedroom there was nothing but the bed and a wardrobe. The empty kitchen greeted me with the whiteness of my fridge, inside of which there were only simple foods — milk, eggs, butter, meat, and oranges — and the white cabinet contained bread and a bottle of wine.

And thus it began. All the borders, limits, and connections broke like they had never existed. When I had to go outside previously, something always pulled me back to my den. But now it was empty, and I didn’t feel any urge to stay there. So I just walked the streets. I didn’t do sports yet, but it was definitely a start, because I realized all of a sudden that I was as free as a bird.

The only thing waiting for me at home was my desk with nothing but necessities on and inside of it. When I pictured it in my mind and laid a blank sheet of paper on it, I gradually came to the conclusion that I needed to draw up the most important document of my life.

I needed an agreement with myself that would make me a better person. And here is what I came up with:


As of today, I only do things that are in line with my own understanding. Fire me, but I will not do anything that makes me mad. I don’t want to live in madness.


Like many others, I often have to work late hours, and I hereby promise to reward myself with a walk around the streets, and not just for two hours every day, but after each time I do something useful. Even if it’s only five minutes, and no matter if I work at home or in the office. There are no such jobs that don’t allow a person to get outside for a while — and mind you, not for a smoke!


From now on, I don’t smoke all over the shop, and especially not at the desk. My place to smoke at home now is the balcony, which is really uncomfortable in the winter, and that’s good because you can’t stay there for long. Moreover, a cigarette is a reward, too, for good work and a good walk. As a result, I reduced smokes from a whole pack to five cigarettes a day, because when I got back from a walk, I immediately went to my work place, forgetting all about smoking.


I won’t starve myself, but I will now draw a distinct line between eating and gorging. I swear to eat only what I can understand, so I’d now prefer something simple and natural to a huge sandwich with whatever-it-may-be inside. Still, a ’’natural salad’’ with tuna, crab, potatoes, mayo, pineapples, apples, eggs, chicken, and peas should be replaced by just one or two of these ingredients. This doesn’t mean I have to eat sparsely, the food just has to be simple.


It’s not food but a medicine, and medicine is only good when it’s properly dosed. So in moderate amounts, beer is good for washing the insides, cognac benefits the vascular system, and wine lifts stress.


I put a picture of myself in five years right where I can see it, and I try to amount to this image. It may be Brad Pitt or just any person I admire, but according to the agreement, it’s me in five years. You can laugh at that, but my body seems to relate to these thoughts and change itself to become closer to the ideal me.


I promise not to coax anyone to join me — lifestyles may be different — but I will try to show everybody that living like me is interesting and healthy. I had an agreement with my wife that we would go for a walk only when we felt like it, and if our walking time is the same, then that’s great. However, neither of us should stand in the doorway and wheedle about how amazing it is outside. The same goes for family dinners, which are one of the trickiest issues of your life as a married couple. There must be no shouting about things like, ’’you won’t eat my pie, that means you don’t love me!’’ — everything should only be done if both of us want to do it.

In half a year’s time, I became a non-companionable man by the standards of those who were like me — fat and clumsy. I didn’t drink or smoke or go to the bar to keep company. However, I began working much more efficiently, and I had energy left to go for a little jog. That’s when I came across athletes who cried to me, ’’Buy yourself running sneakers before doing that!’’

And I went for the sneakers.

This is me, and I’m 52 here. It’s not about showing off and receiving comments on how cool I am, it’s about the possibilities. There shouldn’t be lame excuses for doing nothing, like ’’I’m too old.’’ You just need to make a wish, and live your life to the fullest.

The moral is as simple as this: everything that surrounds us is inside of us. Chaos around you creates chaos within, and you cannot live life to the fullest with that mess in your head and body.

Author: Yuri Balabanov

Source lifehacker