We all go through times when exercise doesn’t come as naturally as we would like. Here are some tips that might help you get through those frustrating phases.
Know Your Why
We all have different reasons for wanting to exercise. Maybe it’s health-related, or perhaps you’re going for a certain look. I’ve had various motivations throughout my life, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting into slumps. The first step to getting my groove back usually starts with keeping my reasons in mind.
Start in Your Head
Many Olympic champions have long used visualization techniques to help them with their game. While you might not plan on becoming a professional athlete any time soon, visualization can help you get your head back into the game before you even try to move your body.
Our brains don’t seem to know the difference between what we visualize and what actually happened. Going through your exercise routine in your head helps your brain to build the habit. That way, when you’re ready to exercise for real, you may find that you encounter a lot less resistance from your body.
I know sometimes I set goals for myself that are just too big. I get so overwhelmed that I never begin. I fail before I even start. If you’re anything like me, one reason you might be having a hard time moving your body is thinking you should be running a marathon or you should be lifting 100 pounds.
BJ Fogg, a Stanford University Researcher, advocates for the Tiny Habits method. He believes in starting with a behavior change that’s so small and achievable that you are sure to be successful. It can be as simple as putting on your walking shoes each day or setting out your workout clothes each night.
Maybe you don’t personally need to go that small, but start with a first step that you know you can accomplish. This might inspire you to keep going as you rack up those wins!
Make It Easy and Enjoyable
I hate waking up early to go to the gym, so I don’t… even when I lie to myself that I will. Instead, I get outside and walk with my dogs. It brings me joy, and I look forward to it.
Instead of putting pressure on yourself again about what type of movement you should be doing, try to note how you enjoy moving your body. Do you enjoy dancing? Hiking? That counts as exercise! It doesn’t have to be grueling and painful, and it’s more likely you will stick with it for the long haul.
Think about How You’ll Feel After
When none of these techniques motivate me, I try to get up and move my body anyway, at least in some small way. It helps to remind myself how I will feel after my workout. I think I can safely say I have encountered some resistance 100% of the times I’ve exercised. I can also safely say I’ve been glad 100% of the time that I did it anyway.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. We’ve all heard the expression that the only constant in life is change. It’s part of the ebb and flow of being alive. You can’t be at the top of your game all the time. If your exercise routine is non-existent right now, you have the power to change that. Just be kind to yourself in the process.
Written by Charlotte Henderson
New York Times