Need motivation to exercise? 5 totally-not-lame ways to get started!
You see the fierce look in this chick's face and her desire to just get out there and kick some asphalt?
Yeah, I have that.
You see that super trendy warm-up suit number she's sportin' to get in the game?
Yup, I've got one much like that, too, and I can rock a headband.
See that beautiful, well maintained track she's on?
Why, I've got miles and miles of that, too!
So why am I sitting on the couch typing this on my laptop while munching on a morning snack?
It's too hot, my allergies are killing me, it's hard to breathe, my back hurts, my foot hurts, I hate the pain, I've gained weight (yet) again, I already tried this, it takes too long, I'm just too darn tired.
And there are at least another half dozen reasons.
I've thought them. Said them. Lived them.
So what does it take to overcome the voices and put one foot in front of the other to get started?
Last year I was diagnosed with an additional auto-immune disease. Instead of using THAT to add to my long list of excuses (trust me, getting out of bed is my most difficult step in the morning) I decided that for "most days of the week" I was going to take the first step and exercise!
It was a difficult start and that one line "take the first step" became my mantra.
You know those people who say "before I knew it, I was feeling great, losing weight and my life was transformed ????"
That wasn't my case.
It wasn't "before I knew it." It was "after all this exercising, why don't I feel great, haven't lost weight and my life isn't transformed -- oh what in the world, I don't even feel any better, what is going on?!!"
But I kept at it.
Months went by and finally!
I felt a change.
It hurt less. I moved more easily. I had more energy. My symptoms decreased.
My clothes fit better.
You're probably wondering whether I had also made any changes to my eating habits. Yes, huge ones! Because of the auto-immune issues, I completely changed my diet and adopted a paleo/auto-immune protocol way of eating. This was a tremendous help with some of my symptoms and inflammation in general.
Then Fall and Winter came.
I fell prey to the familiar seasonal Winter blues and my symptoms returned.
I had no motivation.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
I maintained my new way of eating. But the exercise stopped.
And so did the well-being, the energy, the focus, the grit and determination.
Have you been there?
More than once?
I'm a member of that repeat club.
Do you pretend like it didn't happen and go on in denial because it's easier?
Or do you beat yourself up first and then slip into oblivion after?
There aren't many articles out there about that part of feeling defeated and ashamed that you quit and now have to start over. Again.
Everyone seems to write about why exercising is beneficial for your health, how to start an exercise routine, what is the best exercise routine, how to keep that exercise routine.
On and on, we have sooo many experts with their advice on what to do, when and how to do it!
Ok, listen. If no one will say it, I will:
When you're in the depths of self-doubt and exercise despair, all of that just sounds lame. Not motivational at all.
What if you have done it, given up, quit, walked away, fallen off the wagon and you JUST DON'T HAVE ONE MORE OUNCE OF MOTIVATION to get back up and do it again?
Ok, yes so this is where they will tell you that your family, your friends, oh and most importantly YOU are the reason you should be doing this! [Yes, my faith also points to my need to be healthy and that should be enough...] And don't even get me started on the motivational quotes that are supposed to stir epiphanies and life-changing moments. Don't. Just don't.
So what if all of that is not enough?
How do you tear down the mental walls?
Here are 5 Totally-Not-Lame Ways
(warm-up suit optional):
First of all, you're not alone.
There are millions of us in the same place.
Failure is hard to accept, but perfection is NEVER something we're going to achieve.
I had a trainer many years ago tell me that exercise is very much a spectrumyou are always on. Don't think of it as "falling off", you're STILL ON IT, you've always been, so just take steps to go forward. Isn't that awesome?
Second, tell yourself yes, it's going to hurt, yes it's going to be uncomfortable, yes it's going to take some time.
But then recognize that it's far more difficult to do what you're doing now because you're NOT sitting on the couch, because you're NOT laying in bed, because you're NOT eating another snack while browsing Facebook! Recognizing and giving yourself credit for actually DOING it is important when you're going down that slippery slope of negative thinking.
Third, get a tribe.
Really. Don't skip this.
Even if you can't join a gym (or hate the gym) and you don't really know any fitness peeps, just surround yourself with people who may be struggling in the same path or may have already been through the slump and are positive influences that can support you. And YOU can in turn support them! Let's face it, if you hang out with a bunch of unhealthy friends, what are the chances you will be successful in your health journey? Who knows, you may become the motivator to others once they see how you're staying the course and doing the hard thing.
Fitness Coach Christy Bertholf , who runs fitness motivation groups both online and in person, adds that "You need someone to call when exercising is the last thing you feel like doing so your partner can tell you, 'Strap on those shoes and get going. Call me when you are done.' Workout together if you can, but get yourself a partner who is supportive of your goals and will not let you down. Don't do it alone. We need cheerleaders to keep us going. Get yourself a cheerleader!"
Fourth, trick your mind into climbing over that mental wall.
This is an interesting one. Keep reading.
Christy also says, "If you are NOT wanting to do anything but sit on the couch, get up and put on your workout clothes, including your shoes. Hang out in them for a while. Do the shopping in them. Clean the house in them. Just wear them for a while and you will trick your brain into thinking you are going to exercise. You will start to gain energy and motivation and well heck...since you are already in the clothes, you might as well do it. Trust me! This works!!!"
Fifth, get LOUD. Yeah, you heard me.
Once you've tricked your brain into exercising because you've spent all day sportin' around that sweet little 80's exercise get-up, TURN UP the volume!
"Music works every time!" says Christy. "Play it loud and proud! If you are feeling like you want to sleep your life away and just CAN'T GET UP to workout, put on your favorite songs and turn it up! First your leg will start tapping, you will start shaking your head, you will start singing along and before you know it...exercise won't seem so bad. This is instant motivation for me! Two songs that you just can't go wrong with, if you can't find any other music that motivates you, are the Rocky Theme Song and Survivor-Eye of Tiger."
So here's to a big motivational drink. Get set. Go.
How is your health journey, friend? Are you facing this challenge, like I am?
We'd love to hear how you get motivated. And I'll keep you posted!
Our thanks to Fitness Coach Christy for her expert advice on this post and for her passion to help people!
Wanna hop over and chat with Christy? See her info here: