7 Ways To Change The Way You Think About Exercise
You decided you need to be healthier and are fully aware you need to start exercising regularly and change the way you eat.
You understand that exercise will help you to stabilize your mood and help fight depression so in an attempt to get inspired, you scroll through Instagram and find a fit girl and you think “I want to look like THAT. I few seconds scrolling her feed, you find some crazy booty exercise and immediately think “I’d die if I try that”
You switch over to your favorite style blogger and lust over cute outfits instead.
You’ve done two things: tricked your mind into thinking you aren’t able to get fit, and you now want to go shopping.
You are not alone.
The desire to exercise haunts many, many people, yet those same people keep it as a “should do” in their mind for various reasons. Not an exercise type of person, won’t be good enough, don’t have time, will start “next week” etc.
Exercise is often associated with negative feelings:
Having to drive to the gym
Waking up earlier to do it
Possibility of being bad at it
Not comfortable at the gym
Assuredly these negative emotions are in your head. There are many things you put effort into that don’t have the positive effects of exercise. Ice cream runs, driving to get a bottle of wine. With that logic, you first understand that it is your mindset.
Shifting your mindset is the most important aspect to incorporate exercise in your daily life. You already know that exercising will be beneficial to your wellbeing, yet year after year, it is a forgotten resolution by January 15th.
It’s your approach and it’s time to change it.
7 WAYS TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT EXERCISE
1.Think About The Benefits
Most people start exercising for aesthetic goals.
“I want to lose ten pounds”
“I want a better butt!”
“My arms are twigs!”
It’s great that you want to see changes but it isn’t enough to actually make you do it because often these phrases trump those desires:
“I want to binge watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix”
“I want to eat a pizza”
“I can either take a nap or go to the gym…”
It’s all about perceived pleasure. Currently, you find Netflix marathons more pleasurable than a trip to the gym so your mindset has to shift to experience pleasure from workouts.
2.Don’t Think Of It As An Obligation
When exercising feels like an obligation, it’s much harder to motivate yourself to do it. Obligations like your job are crucial to paying bills and getting food, so the consequences of skipping work are perceived as much greater.
You technically don’t HAVE to exercise so there are no perceived negative consequences.
Let’s explore that:
Feeling tired all the time
Losing muscle mass as you get older
Becoming more prone to injury
Low back and neck pain from sitting too much
Can’t carry all your groceries in one trip
The list goes on.
That’s why making exercise a part of your life - just like brushing your teeth and washing your hair - will be an overall improvement of your wellbeing.
You saw someone deadlifting 300 lbs on YouTube and that did not interest you.
That’s totally ok. You don’t need to deadlift 300lbs to be fit and improve your life.
Get creative and think about other ways you can exercises. With spring coming the opportunity to get outdoors and being active will drastically change your workout style.
Ride a bike
Or a scooter
Or a unicyle (if you’re brave)
Take up skateboarding
Take a walk
Take a ballet class
Take ballroom dance lessons
Take a pole dancing class
Dance like a crazy person in front of your mirror
This list is not exhaustive and there are some silly things there to show that exercise is not static. It can mean something different for different t people and you can have fun with it
You are a creative and you can definitely bring that creativity over into your fitness goals.
Stop focusing on other people’s journey
When you think about exercising you start imagining Yogis bending in ways that your body won’t go or powerlifter grunting as they toss 200 lbs into the air like a small baby.
Everyone’s journey is slightly different and should be celebrated. You see their results but you don’t see the struggle to get there. It takes time and consistent work to build powerlifter strength and yogi flexibility so starting is the first thing you need to do.
This brings up the next point.
Any exercise is better than no exercise.
This means that a ten-minute walk every other day could be where you start.
Do not minimize your efforts but continually strive to progress. Remember that girl doing the crazy exercise on Instagram has been working out for a while. It’s also probably no a safe movement anyway so don’t worry about mimicking it. Every single individual has a journey that is wonderful and exciting.
In addition, it's always best to start slowly and make sure you perfect form and prevent any future injuries.
6.Stop punishing yourself with exercise
Repeat this out loud:
EXERCISE IS NOT A PUNISHMENT FOR EATING FOODS YOU ENJOY.
“I’ll run if I eat/drink this donut/pizza/cookie/bottle of wine/soda”
That punishment mentality will cause you to despise exercise and continue to view it as displeasing.
EAT DONUT = PLEASURABLE
WORK OUT TO WORK OFF PLEASURABLE DONUT = UNPLEASURABLE
You have to allow yourself to be flexible. It is not necessary to remove all the things you enjoy from your diet to achieve your goals.
What is necessary is adjusting your diet to be healthier and focus on eating what makes you feel good. Be honest with yourself - does eating an entire pizza make you feel good, or was it a conquest that will make you feel horrible in the morning?
Enjoy your pizza. Only eat two slices and a salad - but if you happen to eat too many, don’t spend your time beating yourself up about. Remember how you feel and make a different choice next time.
7.Get cute workout clothes
This sounds solely superficial but the psychological effects clothing can have on use are undeniable.
Feeling cute AF, while you work out - even if you are at home - is a great confidence booster. The more positivity you associate with exercise the more likely you will continue doing it!
Clothing designed for exercise also moves and feels better while you workout.
There are so many subscription boxes like Ellie Activewear and Fabletics where you can stock up on cute gear. Discount retailers like TJ MAXX/Marshall's also carry quality activewear at a fraction of the cost.
Regular exercise is all about your mindset and shifting the way you think about exercise will lead to making a change that will change your life. Deciding to make healthy life changes is a matter of becoming resolute about your goals.
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