I’m not sure what it is about exercise, but it seems like once you get out of the habit it can be so hard to start again! It turns out there’s a secret little trick to getting motivated. Actually there might be a couple. Let’s look at them.
- Find the no-turning-back moment. There is a point in preparing to exercise, when not exercising is no longer an option. Sometimes it’s after putting on tennis shoes. Sometimes it’s just stepping out the front door. Or maybe it’s pulling into the gym parking lot. Find what that point is for you, and when you think about exercising, don’t think about the whole process and all the exercising you’ll do from start to finish. Instead, think of that no-turning-back moment, and just focus on getting to and moving through it. You’ll find the rest of your workout falls into place once that piece has been completed.
- Find your goal. Nope, I mean your real goal. You may think your goal is ‘to lose weight’ but is that really your goal? What happens when you attain it? You’re still the same person right, so who’s to say the old habits won’t creep right back in? Instead, try changing your goal to be about who you are instead of what you do. Instead of ‘I am someone who weighs X’, try ‘I am someone who takes care of their body’, or ‘I am someone who walks my elderly neighbor’s dog 3 times a week’, or even ‘I am someone loves doing Zumba videos on You Tube’.
- Notice and remember the little ways that exercise helps you. How would it feel to think to yourself, ‘I am strong’ or ‘I have good balance’ or ‘I can walk up that steep hill or flight of stairs and not get short of breath’? Regular exercise can get you there. You’ll notice improvement with as little as 15 minutes of exercise, three times a week. Noticing the ways exercise improves your quality of life can be a big motivator on it’s own.
- Do the little things. Exercising doesn’t have to be about going to the gym and working out with free weights and running on the treadmill. Sometimes in our busy lives the little things are all we have time for. Try parking on the other side of the parking lot from the store or your work, instead of as close to the door as you can get. When you use the restroom at work, take the stairs and use one on a different floor. When you’re heating up food or pumping gas or waiting for a pot on the stove to boil, do some lunges. They’re not a lot but they add up, and again, they help us change our habits, until we are people who exercise more. You’ll be surprised how quickly you notice changes from the little things.
There you have it! Four tricks to motivating to move. Some of them are ways to sneak more movement into your life, others are ways to get back into the groove or start a new groove.
Please note, these tips are for general information only, and do not constitute personalized medical advice. For personal exercise recommendations, consider signing up for the Optimum Wellness services I provide, or consult with a licensed healthcare professional.
Dr. Tremblay graduated from high school with an associate’s degree in horticulture and worked as a gardener for 10 years before returning to higher education and the healer’s path. Dr. Tremblay studied native plant ecology and ethnomedicine at The Evergreen State College, and earned her doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Read more >>