Warning: Reading this article may cause healthy habits that are hard to stop.
I always equate exercise to coffee – once you start, it’s difficult to quit. And once you stop, you REALLY feel it when you decide to start up again.
So, what gets some people up at 6 A.M. while other’s live the mantra “I’ll start tomorrow!”?
Here’s some of the favorite excuses I’ve given myself, plus how I got over them.
First, you don’t exercise because you think it’s hard.
Well, my dear, it’s sure going to get harder and harder the more you don’t do it, isn’t it?
Start small. I’m talking REALLY small. One exercise a day for 5 minutes a day small. Heck, maybe you’ll even do it for ten minutes the first day. In fact, the second you BEGIN to exercise, you realize that it feels really good – and it’s hard to get people to stop!
Get up in the morning and instead of mindlessly typing in whatever URL comes into your head first, or headed to your crackapp of choice (I see you, snapchat), take a 5-10 minute walk with your loved one or your dog. Seriously. Just try it. Once you conquer the first day, science even says that you’ll want to do more. And you trust science, don’t you?
I’ve designed two fitness plans that are created with 3 things in mind: to be easy, fun and to be able to be executed at home or even on the go. They’re only a $5 investment, too. That’s less than lunch! Much like my plans, there are super affordable deals like this all over the place. You don’t have to get my fitness plans, but look around for one that calls out to you. Some personal favorites besides my own include these DVD’s by Tracy Anderson and daily Kundalini Yoga.
2. You Don’t Want To “Force Yourself”
Let me tell you a big secret: if you’re waiting until you’re “ready to start” (thin enough, strong enough, good enough) you’ll NEVER start. In fact, you’ll get bigger, weaker and worse as time goes on. So just START. You HAVE to force yourself to start almost anything in the beginning.
Then, over time (sometimes much more quickly than you expected), you’ll find that you feel good when you do it. You’ll start to love it. Or you’ll pick parts of it you love and parts of it you can tweak. I always think of my Dad when I’m exercising – he was at the gym a WEEK after his first brain surgery to remove his cancer. Talk about “forcing yourself”. He LOVED exercise, and it was a huge reason he lived four times longer than doctors initially predicted when he was diagnosed!
Trust me, I used to think, I’m in too much pain to work out. Well, YEAH sister. And you’re going to KEEP being in pain if you don’t start today! Right now!
3. You’re Not Motivated
You might say, But why? This can’t be for me! I’m not good enough/I don’t deserve it/I have no energy.
A huge part of the reason you have no energy is because you’re not exercising. Exercise promotes and creates energy. Motivate yourself with a reward. Create a habit loop, which involves a cue to trigger the behavior (setting out your workout gear), the routine itself (making it to the gym or taking out your fitness plan) and then the reward. Giving yourself a reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile, and a reward increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.
If you do 30 minutes of exercise a day, reward yourself in any way that might motivate you. Maybe you allow yourself 30 mins of TV, a movie you enjoy or some hot fudge on your strawberries tonight. Whatever gets you up and doing it – give yourself that thing at the end! You won’t regret it!
4. You’ve Tried Before – With No Success
A huge part of the reason most people don’t exercise is because they’ve tried exercising before and either stopped getting motivated or felt that it wasn’t giving them their desired results “in time”.
STOP expecting overnight results after years of self-neglect!! My muscles tone VERY easily, but if I stop working out for a month, I am NOT going to get a 6 pack back in a week. I’m just not. The older I get, the more true this has become for me, and I can only assume it’s the same for 99.9% of the population.
I can’t stress this enough: DON’T. GIVE. UP!
Let me say that again. DON’T. GIVE. UP!!
SERIOUSLY! Giving up is the ONLY way you WON’T see any results. You can sit around and complain about your self-fulling prophecy coming true, or you can get off your butt and do some squats. Take a bike ride. Go for a hike. Which one do you think will make you feel better?!
5. You’re Too Busy
This is the #1 excuse I’ve heard when I was life coaching about healthy habits in general, and it used to be one of the most infuriating to me. Oh, I used to think, So you don’t have the time to take care of yourself, but I do?!
Well, truthfully, yes. I’ve made self-care a HUGE priority, and it’s had an immense pay off. One of the best things I’ve learned is that we ALL have the same amount of time. All of us have the same time as Beyonce, for god’s sake! Do me a favor. Give yourself a challenge and try to learn FIVE MINUTES of a Bey routine. GO ahead. I’ll wait….
…. Oh hello! Yes, it’s the year 5678. Welcome. Your routine is outdated but we applaud your efforts.
Seriously. If Beyonce can do 20 of those routines on tour, I think you can take 15 minutes out of your day for some self love and self care. You DESERVE to feel good!! None of us are too busy for our health. Without our health, nothing else matters.