Are you finding it difficult to stick with exercise? Most assume it's laziness, but that’s actually not the real reason at all! At some point in your life, you have equated the word exercise with a dreadful grueling act you wouldn’t normally do unless you were trying to lose weight, fix something you perceive wrong with your body, or doctor-ordered prescription misery. These mind frames lead your subconscious to believe the activity as harmful and miserable, thus, self-sabotaging your motivation. To regain your motivation, let’s dive into exercise misconceptions and the mental and emotional blocks you may be experiencing to find an activity you look forward to doing every day.
During a group health coaching session, a participant expressed frustration for her lack of exercise motivation for the monthly fitness challenges. But then later on in our group discussion, she expressed how she had begun swimming with her 3-year-old to break up the day and noticed how it helped the yucky feelings of quarantine life. So why did she not consider swimming with her 3-year-old exercise? It’s quite simple and I see it all the time with my personal training clients.
Exercise tends to get a bad rap. It is typically perceived as some type of grueling sweat-inducing high-intensity class, workout, or activity you do out of guilt. In my experience, my clients’ guilt (and in my own life) stems from negative emotions about their weight, body, or doctor-ordered health concerns. The problem is that negative motivation can’t be your end-game. It may work at the beginning, but stats show it won’t keep you motivated for the long-haul. An easy exercise to get you to exercise (see what I did there) is clearly defining your reason (Your Why) for moving your body.
A Purposeful Why
Your Why for exercise is personal to you and only you. It’s the reason for making space in your already packed schedule to ensure exercise is a priority. Start by asking yourself what is the purpose of exercise in my life? Can exercise fill a larger over-arching intrinsic void? The positive attributes you gain from exercise are endless: more energy, flexibility, focus, therapy, strength, minimized aches and pains, heightened mood, and the list goes on.
Think of your Why as the little voice in your head reminding you, yes you are worth it. You deserve to have the body you want, but that dress on with confidence, play with your grandkids, or live a longer more active life. By acknowledging all the awesome self-esteem benefits of exercise, a once self-hating action can easily become a labor of love for you.
Your Why will also help you find an exercise activity that speaks to you beyond extrinsic motivational benefits. In the earlier example of the group health coaching member frustrated with her lack of motivation she instinctually began swimming as a calming uplifting activity to cure the loneliness, she was feeling in quarantine. For me, my Why came out of determination to just feel healthy again. When I graduated from college and I had gained over 30 lbs of weight from stress eating and lack of activity. I grew up an athlete and had never been overweight a day in my life. From my body-shaming came destructive dieting & excessive exercise to fix my body. These negative motivational tactics continued until one day I decided I didn’t want to live like this anymore. My Why gave me sanity with food and exercise and ultimately a purposeful career path into personal training.
Now The Easy Part
Once you have clearly defined your reason for exercise, the next steps are easy! Choose an exercise activity that will get you out of bed every morning with enthusiastic intentional action. The intensity of the activity doesn’t matter. Start with an easy exercise activity like walking to the end of the street and back. Remember life is a marathon, not a sprint. A winning routine is finding an exercise activity that makes sense with yourWhy so it can be a mainstay in your life. If you do it right, your body will crave it every day, and motivation will be the least of your worries.