It is the middle of January and you may be finding that you are searching for the motivation to either start an exercise program, or to maintain consistency in the one you are currently in. You may be saying such things as “I should…” or “I would but…” This type of self-talk creates a sense of guilt and can immobilize you from engaging in physical activity. Exercise enhances your assertiveness, confidence, emotional stability, independence, memory, mood, perception, body image, self-esteem, self-worth, and overall feeling of well being. It will help you to take control and manage anger, anxiety (worry & fear), confusion, depression, headaches, weight, stress, tension, thus your overall health. With all of these positive benefits then why can engaging in physical activity feel like such an overwhelming task? If you are struggling to remain physically active, try incorporating the following four steps into your life.
Step one: change your perspective
How you see yourself has a huge impact on how you view physical exercise and whether or not you incorporate it into your busy lifestyle. If you feel tired all of the time, place minimal value on physical exertion and view yourself as someone who is too busy to exercise you will remain inactive. Make the choice to view yourself as an athlete in the pursuit of obtaining physical strength and mobility. Start by creating a vision of the physical activity you would choose to engage in and how this would make you feel. If you notice barriers coming up and you are feeling resistant to wanting to exercise, contact me so that we can work through what is holding you back from enjoying all of the positive benefits.
Step two: prioritize and schedule your workouts
There will always be a reason or excuse why you are unable to find time to exercise, that is why it is essential to create a plan that incorporates it into your life. In order to make exercise a priority you will have to make room in your schedule for it. Self awareness is key, for instance if you know you are not a morning person, setting your alarm for 5am to exercise before work will be a daunting task. If this is the only time you have available in your day to exercise you will need to implement changes into your lifestyle. Things that can make this easier are having everything ready the night before, going to bed at a decent time, having an uplifting song to wake you up, meeting someone and choosing an activity that reduces your stress while having fun.
Step three: set a goal
Setting a realistic and achievable goal will help you to maintain your focus and keep you engaged. This goal will have to be consistent with your values and lifestyle in order to remain successful. For instance, I have two young children that I spend the majority of my time with. Being a mother is something that I value and place a high regard for. I value being a positive role model for them who teaches the importance of self care and having fun. With this being said I recognize at this stage of my life prioritizing my fitness in order to train at a high level would be in conflict with my first priority as a mother. Therefore, it becomes essential to set an athletic goal where I remain physically active on a consistent basis rather then pursuing a goal of excelling in competition. By gaining awareness of your values and priorities in life you will be able to make more achievable goals that are less likely to create feelings of guilt, sadness and frustration.
Step four: get a workout partner
Having someone to train with creates accountability, support and will enhance your natural drive to compete. You will be more likely to remain engaged in a regular workout regime when you add the benefits of social interaction and the responsibility of exercising on your own disappears. Finding a positive workout environment is also key, as when you surround yourself with positive engaged people you are more likely to gravitate back to being around positive energy.
Finding the motivation to start an exercise regime or to maintain one during times of stress and hardship can be overwhelming and create feelings of hopelessness. If you are struggling to remain consistent with your fitness goals or have yet to begin engaging in physical activity, contact me so that we can discuss how I can help you to achieve your optimal life, connecting your mind, body, and soul.
Heather Kempton, Life Coach, MA, RCC
Optimal Life Therapy