The struggle in making exercise a habit is real, right? If you don’t have a consistent exercise routine, you probably shoulda-coulda-woulda yourself to death most days. You know how it goes- “I should go workout. I could wait and do it later. I would (insert desire here….fit in my jeans, have more energy, feel stronger) if I would just go exercise.”
That’s a fun hamster wheel to be on and all, but let’s start shifting our mindset a bit. Here’s a few tips to help you get off the hamster wheel and into a routine you love.
Number one, practice a little self-love. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and just admired one thing about yourself? It could be how bright your eyes are or how good your booty looks in your new jeans. Find that one thing to be positive about and forget about everything else.
Also, find one thing about yourself that isn’t attached to your physical body like, “I make a mean grilled cheese” or “I am a good and loyal friend who reaches out to others”.
It breaks my heart when I hear other women tearing themselves down instead of treating themselves the way they would their best friends. No one has a perfect body or life, especially as we age, so focus on the good.
Schedule exercise for consistency
Number two, schedule your exercise times to make exercise a habit. Figure out how many days you want to work-out a week. Then, find a time that consistently works those days. For instance, you know that if you don’t work-out in the morning, it won’t happen that day (that’s me). Or you have the most energy later in the afternoon. Put in on the calendar. COMMIT. Then do it. You wouldn’t skip out on your hair appointment so honor this appointment in the same way.
I get it, we all have things pulling us in different directions…work, kids, marriage, friends. Busy, busy, busy, right?
What are you sacrificing by saying “yes” to everything else and “no” to your own needs?
Don’t be the hero all the time. Buy the cupcakes instead of making them for the kids’ party next time. The kids will love them and the other moms might judge, but with your confidence from keeping promises to yourself, you won’t care. Trust me.
don’t dread your workout
Number three, pick a workout that you will ENJOY, or at a minimum, not hate or dread. Do you endlessly read about the newest workout craze and wonder if it’s for you? Or wonder what the best workout is? Guess what….it’s the workout that you will do. Shut out the noise and get to doing what you enjoy. Move that body of yours.
I tend to suffer from what I call “exercise ADD”, meaning that I have to mix up my exercise routine every so often, trying new classes, working out on my own, weights, cardio, bike, tennis. I do all of those over time. I keep challenging myself so I don’t get bored and it helps to make exercise a habit.
Is that you, too? Or are you happiest following the same kind of routine? Only you know so do a little soul searching and experimentation. The goal here is to make this a habit over time so, again, do whatever you enjoy and will stick with.
Exercise has a seasonality to it as well. So honor that in yourself and listen to what your body needs. Hot yoga in the winter? Yes. A long walk or run in springtime? Also yes.
My exercise habit is for sanity and vanity
I always say I exercise for two reasons….vanity and sanity. Vanity to look and feel my best and fit in my jeans. Sanity to ward off depression and anxiety. Exercise releases a flood of endorphins (those are chemicals in your body) that cause that feel-good, euphoric feeling. When I feel like I am having a hard time with some anger or anxiety, I observe how I feel before and after a work-out. It’s remarkable how much better I feel after the work out.
A good friend of mine always has always said she works out “to get the crazy out” and that couldn’t be more true. Likewise, I have suffered from depression and it still shows up every once in a while. I know without a doubt that exercise is a major component in me keeping a healthy mental state.
Sometimes I work out in my basement, sometimes I go to the gym
benefits of making exercise a habit
In case you are still having doubts about this whole exercise thing and how to fit it in your routine, here are some proven benefits to keep in mind when your commitment waivers:
- Increased cardiac health and lower blood pressure
- Improved muscle tone and increase in metabolism (meaning your body will be more effective at burning calories at rest) which is even more important as we move through our 40s and 50s.
- Healthy weight, which means lower risk for diabetes and other diseases. And that’s a healthy weight for you. Stop comparing numbers to anyone else.
- Self-confidence, aka: being a bad-ass.
- Wards off anxiety and depression
You can do it. Decide to make time (even 15-30 minutes is great!) and put yourself first. You can try new things. I am cheering you on! If you still need a little help in creating a routine, check out this post for a little help.