Getting motivated to exercise can be so difficult. And many of us use the lack of motivation as an excuse to not exercise.
But here’s the thing, you have to get started even when you aren’t motivated to do it.
Be honest now.
How many times have you thought, “I REALLY need to get off this couch and get some exercise?”
But you only have ten or twenty minutes so you convince yourself that it’s not worth the effort. Or you think about running and then get discouraged because you can’t run a mile without stopping.
There’s a voice in your head telling you that if you can’t commit an hour or that if you can’t run a marathon or if you can’t train like an Olympic athlete, “Why bother?” That’s your pesky Inner Critic again and it’s time to get her off your back and invested in getting fit. Just Do It!
You can’t succeed unless you start.
That’s a fact. Getting healthy isn’t about becoming an elite athlete, it’s about making good eating choices, keeping positive, and carving out a little space in your day to move your body. That’s it. It sounds so simple but that Inner Critic is forever discouraging us from making a small effort. She makes us feel so inadequate that we end up making no effort and ultimately, no effort destines us for failure.
Your Inner Critic has your best interests at heart. She wants to keep you safe and to make sure you never fail and never get hurt. The problem with listening to her is that if you never begin, you’ll never cross the finish line. So how do you quiet her long enough to start an exercise program? Try bringing her along.
Seriously, when you get down on yourself about not working out, try challenging your Inner Critic to bite off just ten minutes of the exercise pie at a time. She’s a big talker. Make her put in some work instead of just spouting negatives. Commit to a short workout and use the time to sort out why you are feeling so resistant.
Create a 21-Day Habit
Well here’s a kick in the pants. A study at the University of Virginia showed that men and women who completed ten-fifteen minute workouts a week for twenty-one days achieved fitness level equivalent to people ten to fifteen years younger and that their strength, flexibility, and endurance was equal to people twenty years younger.
“It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mindset that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says exercise psychologist, Glenn Gaesser, Phd.
Every Minute Counts.
Isn’t that what I keep telling you? All or nothing perfectionism is your Inner Critic’s biggest weapon and you need to beat that Negative Nancy by walking any chance you get, five minutes in one direction and five minutes back. Do that three times a day and you’ve gotten thirty minutes in without trying!
Or up the ante by taking ten minutes to alternate jumping jacks and pushups. While you’re cooking and you’re waiting for the timer to go off, use that ten minutes for squats and sit ups. Or better yet, crank up some music and dance around the kitchen for ten solid, joyful minutes! All that moving around ought to shake your Inner Critic loose and get her moving too.
You can sneak ten minutes in every few hours and the best part is that those ten-minute breaks will actually energize and focus you.
You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet!
I would be a jerk if I didn’t take this opportunity to remind you that you can’t outrun or out-exercise a bad diet. And I certainly know, because I tried. For a year my friend and I would go to our favorite 9am barre class followed by a yummy delicious summer at a place called Jamba Juice. You may know this type of place. They claim everything is healthy but everything is crammed with sugar.
We pushed ourselves to work hard during class, but then proceeded to eat at least 89 grams of sugar for breakfast and far too many calories.
So, you see, exercise is not a magic eraser. You can’t use it to erase the sins of your hand-to-mouth activities. It won’t work.
Get Started Now.
Crazy as it sounds, as your fitness increases and you begin to enjoy working out more, your Inner Critic can become the ally that pushes you to run a little further and lift a little more. The very same voice that kept you from getting started can become the voice that pushes you to achieve more and to reach your fitness goals. Your Inner Critic needs a little training too. And as your Inner Critic gets fit, that’s how she becomes your best cheerleader.
You’ve got this!