It’s no BS that I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. My problem with exercise begins from my childhood. I was an EXTREMELY active child. My mom had me in all kinds of classes – tap, jazz, ballet, karate, skiing, etc. It seems I was always being shuffled from one activity to another every night of the week. I was getting TONS of physical activity. But it was all “classes” with a gathering of my little friends, in our little dance outfits, having fun while doing our shuffle-ball-steps. There was never a time in my youth where I was placed in front of a weight station and told, “Here, sit, and torture yourself. It will be fun.”.
Fast forward to my adulthood, where I’ve been placed in front of a weight station and was told, “Here, sit, torture yourself. It’s good for you.”. Honestly, I’d rather shimmy up a poison ivy infested tree without underwear on than to go and work out in a gym. But I don’t have a 20-year-old metabolism anymore and it’s a proven fact that after the age of 40 our muscle mass decreases at 4% per year if you don’t maintain a diligent physical exercise routine. So, no, it’s not fun, but yes, it is good for me. Now I just had to convince my brain to stop eye-rolling and fake-gagging every time I told it we were going to go exercise.
I know I’m not alone. I know that there are MILLIONS of us who would rather kiss the south end of a north facing donkey than to go work out. Weather it’s jogging, yoga, weightlifting, swimming, or biking – we all have a little voice telling us, “Nah. Let’s binge Netflix instead.” Here are SIX things I’ve done to change my mindset about adding 30 minutes of exercise to my everyday life. (Um, almost everyday life. Let’s be real. Some days the Netflix voice wins.)
- There’s always a convenient excuse.
There’s always a reason NOT to do something. “I’ll get hurt.” “I’ll make a fool out of myself.” “I have no idea what I’m doing.” One day I decided to turn those excuse voices into my children’s voices. Suddenly, there was an internal switch that turned my answers into Big Mama. “Oh no chil’. No you di’n’t. That’s now how we get anywhere in this world. Now get off your ass and go do it!” You don’t say no to Big Mama. You get your ass up and you go do it.
- Mentally picture yourself reaching your goal.
Fast forward beyond your initial apprehension and excuses and picture your satisfaction in the end. Just reminding yourself that you’ll be glad you did it can get you over the initial hump of, “Awe man! Do I have to???”. Mental imagery is a powerful tool! Picture yourself wearing your new “skinny clothes” or imagine yourself crossing the finish line of a 5k you have your sites set on completing. If you can envision yourself being successful, chances are, you will be!
- Just do 10 minutes.
That’s what I say to myself. “Just do 10 minutes and you’ll be 10 minutes better for it.” Inevitably I’ll always do more than 10 minutes because once I get going, I’m not quite ready to stop. Funny how it works that way, hu?
- You deserve to recover.
Here’s a flip of the coin… sometimes I don’t allow myself to recover. SOMETIMES, I’m on a roll and feeling the momentum and decide to amp up my workout; add in extra sets or add on extra weight. Then I hurt myself. The child voice in me says, “I’m too sore!” and the Big Mama voice in me says, “Chil’! That’s your own damn fault! Now get out there and work out!” But in fact, I should actually rest and let my body recover so that I don’t make things worse. Taking one or two days to rest is ok. Taking a week to rest is ok. Whatever you need to keep yourself healthy on both extremes is ok. Sometimes it’s not an “excuse” but it’s “doctor’s orders”, and we should always listen to our doctor.
- “What get’s writ gets done!”
I was once an apprentice to a real estate agent who imparted much of his life-long wisdoms upon me. The biggest lesson he taught me was, “What gets writ gets done.” Journaling has been the biggest excuse-stopper I’ve discovered. I’m one of those that LOVE lists. I love making my To Do list and, even more, I love marking off the things that I’ve accomplished from my lists. I’ve made the bottom section of my daily calendar into my exercise log – and I DO NOT like blank spaces. If I don’t put any effort into my exercising for that day, I don’t get to fill in the space. Sometimes, honestly, the only reason why I work out is to fill in the spaces. Hey! It works for me!
- Exercise doesn’t have to be a boring routine!
I love finding different ways to exercise my body, mind, and facial muscles. What? You don’t exercise your face? Look it up! Your facial muscles need exercise in order to maintain their elasticity. Same with your brain!!! The more you exercise it, the more elasticity it maintains which fends off aging diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. I enjoy mixing up my exercises to include facial exercises (scrunch face, lion face, scrunch face, lion face) and exercising with a friend makes for fun chit-chat. We have a ridiculously steep road in town called “Spur Road” that is iconic for kicking your ass every excruciating step at a time. I HATE hiking up Spur Road but I LOVE chatting with my friends that I join so it motivates me to tie up my shoes and go. Plus, you can’t beat the view from the top! I encourage you to find something fun to do, join a friend, accept an invitation to play kickball or fill in for a softball game. Gathering with friends, talking and laughing, doing Just Dance in your living room, challenging your kids to a skipping race…. It all counts!
What are some of the “excuse busters” that you use? What keeps you motivated? I’d love to read your responses in the comments.