I thought it would be fun to give you a little list of ways and reasons to get moving again today.
You know, exercise has been found to decrease stress, lower cholesterol, help us sleep, help with anxiety and depression, help us age, increase bone strength and on and on. But, it can be so ridiculously hard to tie the laces on our sneakers and get to it. So, today I’m sharing some fun ways for you to take another look at exercise and make it work for your unique and special life. Now, just a disclaimer, some of these ways don’t really go together but others you can combine to make them work for you. You’ll see what I mean once we get started.
2. Be adventurous
Literally approach your exercise as if it is an adventure and a desirable experience. Go for something you want to try like salsa dancing or outdoor hiking. Make it a hobby. Make it part of something you do with friends and family. If you are a social person, make it part of how you reconnect with others. If you crave time alone, build it into another way to be quiet with yourself away from others. Make it amazing. Don’t just copy and paste someone else's work out routine, do what sounds blissful just for you.
3. Reward yourself
This goes back to how we tend to only notice and pat ourselves on the back for results or some sort of big-finish line results. That is often why people only start running if they sign up for a race or will take up an intense kickboxing class in order to shed some pounds. Instead, I want you to really consider what exercise feels good for you. Then, set up a habit-based reward. I wish more women did this in more areas of their life. Exercise is so good for our body, mind, and heart and yet we will lose motivation so quickly if we all have a calendar date or a number on the scale. Please, reward your consistency. Nobody else is going to. Write it down. Give yourself a carrot. For example, you might say you are going to treat yourself to a massage when you make it to your pilates class every time this month. It’s like telling yourself that you care and it will make you so much more likely that you’ll follow through with more goals in the future.
4. Make it about life not loss
We usually have a reason (or two or three) for why we want to exercise, but weight loss will overshadow them. Then, I usually see one of two things happen: You’ll give up if the number on the scale doesn’t move or doesn’t move quickly enough OR you’ll stop exercising when the number on the scale gets to where you want to be. Stop making your movement be about losing something. Instead, make your number one reason about your quality of life. Push for the energy you want to feel. Push for the confidence you want to feel in your body. Push for the ability to play with kids, enjoy a shopping trip with friends, or submerge yourself in nature with utter joy. Let me tell you, that is true love. When you make it about weight loss it can take on some punitive tones. Working out can become something you have to do because of the shape you're in and the fix you got yourself in with your health. Exercise might even become your focus because you ate some extra brownies or don’t want to look a certain way in family photos. I feel like we are designed to avoid things that feel hurtful and if you approach exercise this way, you will dread it. Every time. It will feel like homework, chores, or punishment and then you’ll wonder why you just can’t seem to make yourself follow through.
5. Notice your results and progress
This last tip is important. I want you to find exercise routines and activities that can last you a lifetime. Notice your results. Write down how much you laughed with friends during your hip hop class. Take a selfie of that smile you had when you made it to the top of the hiking trail. Take before and after pictures of your arms, stomach, and thighs. Cross each day off in your calendar. Download a habit tracker for your phone and post your streaks. Anything. Just NOTICE and mark it down. Study shows that when we do this, we teach our brain what is important to us. After a while, getting off the couch and moving will become more important than the new episodes of our favorite show or scrolling for just a few more minutes on Instagram.
There you have it. My five fun ways to bring joy into exercise.
Oh how thankful I am that I get to do this work with you. My work as a life coach constantly returns to how we can live more fully our victorious life in Christ as we do the good work we were created for. You are so precious to me.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.