Possibilify in my real life requires determination and change. For me, it’s the little things that allow me to create change and stick with it over the long-term.
If you are like me, you always have “Things To Do” that you don’t get done. One big ticket item on my list has been to incorporate exercise into my life on a regular basis. I’ve tried some different systems over the years and here are four tips that help me get moving.
- Find something you love
- If you do something you don’t love, find a reason to like it
- Honour yourself in the moment of choice
- Feel good about every coin you put in the fitness jar
1. Find Something You Love
My sister, Rachel, introduced me to hot yoga and I love it. I do a few forms of hot yoga: 26 poses over 90 minutes, flow, yang and yin, as well as deep stretch and relaxation.
What do I love about it?
The heat – in the hot room you get a really good all-over body sweat. I like to get there at least ten minutes before class starts so I can get acclimated to the heat. I also like to drink a ton of water before, during and after hot yoga. Other people prefer not to drink much during class. It’s really about finding out what works best for you. I always feel like all the toxins and bad juju that I might be holding onto, come out during a really good all-over body sweat.
My stress knot goes away – I have an office job which finds me in meetings, on the computer, and generally less active than some other jobs might be. I hold my stress in my right trapezius – it’s a big knot that just sits there. After an hour or so of yoga, it’s impossible for my body to hold onto the stress in that one spot. My body just has to let it go.
I do as much as I’m able – anyone can do yoga. When I began, I hadn’t been going to the gym or doing any kind of physical activity for a while. You know the story – working mom, young kids, busy life. And more recently, I’ve been recovering from stress and adrenal fatigue. The great thing about yoga is that it lets me do as much as I’m able on a given day. Once I went to yoga and ended up with tears streaming down my face throughout the practice. Yes, I was that person sniffling in the back. But I did it, and I felt better for it.
I find that my yoga practice reflects how I’m doing in life – how strong, flexible or balanced I’m feeling. Sometimes I’m more flexible, sometimes I’m stronger, sometimes I have better balance. And even on days when all three are not as good as I’d like, I still get my bad feelings out and the knot goes away.
2. If you do something you don’t love, find a reason to like it
People who know me might be surprised to find out that I don’t love to run. But I run pretty often. Even though I don’t love running, there are things I really, really like about it and these things are enough to get me out the door pretty often.
I really, really like that it’s super convenient. I can just put on my shoes and go out my front door and around my neighbourhood. I can run for as long as makes sense, and if it all goes horribly wrong, I can just walk back home. And believe me, it has gone horribly wrong – once, when it was raining and the sidewalk was a little uneven. I tripped and tried to prevent myself from falling. Luckily I managed to fall onto the grass beside the sidewalk instead of face-planting on the concrete, but I jammed my shoulder, and got covered in mud and grass. And then I was able to walk it off and make it home, where I am lucky enough to have a husband and two wonderful children who gave me hugs and made me feel better.
I also got my daughter to put together a playlist that I really, really like that I can listen to when I’m running.
I really, really like that I can run as quickly or slowly as I feel like.
And my husband gets me nice workout clothes that I really, really like to wear.
Sometimes I get to run with friends, and then we go for coffee and a chat. I’m not sure the other coffee shop guests love having us there in our sweaty gear, but I really, really like having a chance to catch-up with friends.
And I really, really like that it’s a really great workout. So even though it’s not my most favorite exercise, I can still get motivated to go for a run.
3. Honour yourself in the moment of choice
My life is busy – I travel with work, my company is global so calls can be scheduled in the early morning or later in the evening and I’m married with two active children. My workouts have to fit with the rest of my life. Sometimes that means I workout in the morning, sometimes at lunch and sometimes at the end of the work day. Lately with the adrenal fatigue, I’ve discovered that I can’t sleep if I workout after noon, so I have been disciplined about making sure I get it done in the mornings. But when I’m running on all cylinders, I move my workouts around to fit my life.
Honouring yourself in the moment of choice – it’s one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective people. Habit #3 – First Things First. It’s actually one of the most difficult of his 7 Habits for Highly Effective People. In this case, when the time comes for you to workout, and you’ve put it in your schedule to go and do this, you just do it. You don’t let that last minute urgent request get in the way. You make yourself go even if you don’t feel like it because you made the choice to put it there and you need to make the choice to honour your intent now.
I have been known to do conference calls for work right outside the door to the hot yoga studio, and when the Executive Director asks if they can speak with me for a few minutes after the call, I say I’m just about to step into a yoga class, can I call you back later?
It’s my life, my body, my health, after all. If I don’t protect it, who will?
We have all been there – when you just don’t feel like exercising. What works to get me motivated is to find the “glass half full” way to look at it. Even if I don’t feel like it, I remind myself how great I will feel afterwards. My body will feel better after getting to move than it did before and I will feel good about having done it.
4. Feel good about every coin you put in the fitness jar
This is the most important re-framing that I have done that really, really helps me to stay motivated over a long period of time. One of the techniques I tried early on was to have a goal – exercise three times per week – and then to put the workouts into my schedule. This technique worked really well for a friend of mine, Joey. He would have a goal, put the workouts into his schedule, and track his workouts in a spreadsheet. I asked him if it helped and how it worked for him, and he said it really helped because he had a goal, and he could visualize what he had done in his tracker and what his week looked like, so he would be motivated to go and workout.
But what would happen to me is that I would not be able to get to the gym on the first or second workout – something would come up and I obviously wasn’t able to honour myself in the moment of choice – and I would be immediately discouraged as I was not going to be able to achieve my weekly goal. In fact, not just discouraged, but I would give up on my goal for the week, so I would not even try to make the remaining workouts either.
After a few weeks like this, I ended up reframing my exercise using the coin in a piggy bank analogy. I would think to myself:
One coin is better than zero, two coins are better than one, three coins are better than two, and so on and so on…
I have found that for me, framing my workouts this way, focusing on the glass half full, and seeing each workout as an improvement, was key to enabling me to feel good about what I am able to do, and to stop beating myself up when I don’t live up to my overly ambitious schedule.
I’ve applied these tips to help me achieve my goal of maintaining and improving my fitness, but they could be applied to almost anything you want to achieve.
What are your best tips to get moving – fitness-wise or other? Please share your tips – we’d love to learn from you!
Originally published at www.possibilify.com