We all know how important fitness is, but regular exercise is something a lot of us struggle with.
The answer is easy. Make exercise something enjoyable, something that you actually look forward to doing, and it’s no longer a stressful drain that you feel like you have to do.
Goal or Habit?
Firstly, think about how you want to approach this. There’s two ways you can do this:
- Focus on developing a healthy daily habit (e.g. approach it day by day)
- Turn it into a goal (e.g. I want to be able to run 5 miles straight by June next year)
It’s all about which option feels best for you. A) might be less stressful as it focuses on the small, day-to-day steps. But B) might give you direction.
Go with your gut feeling & don’t spend too long worrying about it. You can always change it later down the track if you want to.
Remember: the whole idea of this is to find what you enjoy doing. So the moment you feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious - take a step back. Make it easier on yourself.
How to Find Exercise You Like Doing
What kind of movement do you actually enjoy doing? Just because you always see the early birds going out jogging every morning, doesn’t mean it’s something that you should be doing as well.
We need to find what form of movement you enjoy doing. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking:
Did anything tickle your fancy?
I love stretching and dancing. Those forms of movement don’t feel like exercise to me because they’re fun to do.
Now think about how you’re going to learn how to do it, or get better at it.
Is it watching belly dancing lessons on youtube, a bike ride around the block a few times, a quick burst up and down some stairs, a local scenic hike on the weekends, or maybe it’s joining your local badminton team?
There might be classes in your town for what you want to do! Most offer a free trial too, so remember to ask before you sign up.
Getting Over Hurdles & Past Old Habits
Right, now you’ve got a wee list of things you want to do - take a second to think about what’s going to get in the way of you achieving that. Because you will have days where the river of motivation runs dry. And some days you just have zero energy left after a draining day at work.
That’s ok. That’s life. You just need to create a plan for when things start heading south.
I want you to remember this: when it feels like things are going south - good! Stop and take note of what’s happening. Look at why it’s not working. Re-adjust and move forward.
Don’t spend time dwelling on what went wrong. It’s inevitable. You’re not an emotionless robot. And once you realise that, you will feel a massive weight lifted off your shoulders.
For example I decided to attend 3x gym classes a week. The first week went well, I attended them all. But by the time next week rolled around, my old habits of settling down in the evenings set in again.
I started to “forget” that I had classes to go to. So, I re-evaluated where it was going wrong. Turns out I really needed that wind down time in the evenings.
I chose to start moving more in my work day instead. I took the train & walked. Took the stairs instead of the lift. Went for quick 5 minute walks on my breaks. And when I got home, took the dog for a walk around the block. That was much easier for me to manage and stick to. It’s important that you exercise in a way that suits you, not because it’s something you *feel* you should be doing.
Start Small & Start Today
Now that you’ve got a few ideas of how to start an exercise routine that you actually enjoy doing - when are you going to start it? A lot of us tend to think “I’ll start fresh on Monday”, or “I’ll start after Sarah’s party as I know I’ll overeat then anyway”.
The only perfect time to start is now. There’s no need for you to delay starting your healthier way of life.
If you’ve got a party coming up where there’ll be sweet carbolicious treats, plan for it. Load up on vege sticks & hummus. Choose to eat something better. Even if your effort is small, it’s still a better, healthier choice.
So when you hear that little voice weasel its way in, tempting you to give up, remind yourself: “Start Small & Start Today”.
Things to remember when you start working towards a new lifestyle:
Ease up on yourself: drop the negative thoughts, they’re not going to get you anywhere, would you say those things to your friends?
Give yourself a break: it’s ok if your plan changes along the way, life is always changing around us, so it’s ok to alter the original plan
If you fall off the wagon: re-evaluate what didn’t work for you & get back on it, no biggie
Ignore all the nay-sayers: Everyone loves to give their opinion on how you should be doing something, but they’re not you. So don’t feel you have to take on their ‘advice’.
Start small. Start today.
Thank you Steph Lord-Harman, Chief Goal Getter at Ninety Days for being our Guest Blogger!
If you enjoyed this article, Steph has got plenty more for you at TheDailyGoalgetter.com!
There’s even a free course on at the moment: 7 Secrets to Goal Setting. Join here: https://thedailygoalgetter.com/start-here/
Steph looks forward to meeting you there :)