My workout routine was never consistent, I had this love-hate relationship with working out, and I rarely felt excited about exercising. It was usually used as a way to work off whatever delicious meal or dessert I had that weekend. I couldn’t seem to find my groove and I envied those people who loved working out. Actually, I thought they were lunatics.
I have heard it said around the team here, that if you want to be someone, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are that person. Get real about what that person does and then do those things. Eventually, you’ll actually become them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are an athlete, which may sound silly, but it works, even if my version of an athlete is not the Olympic version.
Like most people, I want to be someone who is active, who makes taking care of their body a priority, who exercises because it makes them feel good and improves their health — not because they feel guilty after an indulgent weekend. I want to be someone who keeps the promises they make to themselves. So, I made a promise to myself: I would do 30 minutes of something active; Every. Single. Day. Pretty daunting for someone with no current workout routine! But I thought to myself, if I can’t spend 30 minutes of my day moving my body, there is something seriously wrong with my priorities and how I schedule my day.
I’m pleased to say that I have kept this promise to myself. Every day I have done some form of exercise, even when traveling. I have made plenty of failed promises to myself in the past around exercising. I never stuck to them. I think what has made me successful this time is my mindset. I didn’t believe in myself before. I didn’t believe I could actually be the person that I described above. But I proved to myself that I am that person; I always had it in me. And maybe you don’t believe you can be the person that you dream of being. But I have some exciting news: you already are that person; you already have it in you. Keep the promises you make to yourself.
Here’s what has helped me…
Planning ahead is a big factor in whether or not you will succeed. Look at your calendar and actually schedule the times that you will work out. Whether you’re a morning, afternoon, or evening exerciser, block off time and plan what you will be doing so that you have 1 less excuse as to why you can’t go that day. Make it a non-negotiable and work your schedule around when you will get your movement in.
Just get there
Getting to the gym was one of the hardest parts for me at the beginning of this challenge. But once I got there, I always exceeded what I said I would do that day. Just get there. Your body will handle the rest once you’re there.
Don’t set unattainable, unsustainable goals. Set goals that you know you will meet, that you can build upon, and that you can stick to. Even a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood is a win for me; I’m not trying to be a hero. If I’m extra sore from my workout the day before, I’ll do a short walk and some yoga/stretching. You know your body and if you need a recovery day, do some light movement.
There are professionals out there whose lives revolve around fitness and exercise. Set aside some of your monthly paycheck to hire a trainer or go to a fitness class. Doing this for the first month will help you better understand proper form, the different types of exercises and what their purposes are, what you like to do, and what makes your body feel good. Then, when you’re comfortable, maybe do more at-home or solo gym workouts.
When you start to feel really, really good, stopping makes no sense.
Switch it up
Switching up the workouts that I’ve been doing has been hugely impactful. I don’t allow myself to get bored. I tend to rotate between Pilates, hot yoga, treadmill running intervals, and weights/floor exercises at the gym. It depends on my energy levels that day and what I have time for.
Get a friend involved
Have someone that you trust to hold you accountable on the days when you can’t get the motivation to exercise. Make sure this is someone who will actually hold you to your word and won’t take any excuses.
Take note of the changes
Seeing and feeling the physical and mental changes that come from consistent exercise is a motivator all its own. You’ll start to feel a new sense of confidence, you’ll notice that your mood is improved, you’ll notice that you are working harder in other aspects of your life, you’ll notice that you feel strong and, eventually, you’ll start to see the changes in your body. Take note of all these changes.