If you’ve been following my newsletters, or if you’ve been paying attention to the stories of people who have started working out, you’ll notice something that all of these individuals have in common. Almost every one of them has some 'problem' to overcome which, conceivably, could prevent them from sticking to a regular exercise schedule. Perhaps they are a single parent with a full-time job, or they work long hours. Perhaps they have a medical problem that makes it difficult and painful for them to exercise, or they have failed to stick to so many exercise programs in the past that motivation and confidence are at an all-time low.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, it sure is tempting to tell yourself, 'I can’t possibly commit to start exercising right now. When things get better/I get less busy/I don’t feel this pain—THEN I’ll try to exercise regularly.' Well, I’ve got news for you: There is NEVER a perfect time, there is ALWAYS something that will come up, or something that will seem more enticing to be doing than working out. Even when all is going well, that is the time when people feel like rewarding themselves with ONLY pleasurable activities to make up for all that they’ve been going through in life.
The truth is, however, that you’re only hurting yourself when you don’t MAKE the time and PUT FORTH the effort to exercise. Everything in life becomes easier and more enjoyable when you’re in shape. For the small investment of exercising a few hours a week (which most people can make simply by cutting back a little bit on TV time, or dining out, or something like that) you will GAIN energy, productivity, and the ability to experience more joy every day—and you become a good role model and inspiration to those around you! And when those around you become more fit, too, life will be much better.
Eventually, you’ll become fit enough to start incorporating exercise into your leisure time, too, especially if you succeed in getting loved ones to 'bite the fitness bug.' You’ll plan to meet your spouse or your friend at the gym or at home for a workout. You'll jog beside the kids as they learn to ride bikes. You'll swim (and not be ashamed to be seen in a swimsuit!) You’ll hike or kayak with your family and friends. You’ll participate in charity walks or basketball games. You'll sign up for a yoga class or a martial arts class with a friend, or for the spring softball league, just for fun. You’ll start choosing more healthful foods to eat, not because you are desperate to lose weight, but because it just feels better to eat healthful foods.
People usually say that the hardest part of exercising is getting started. This is true for many, but there is another hard part--sticking with it when you hit a plateau or you just start feeling BORED with your program. Both in getting started and in breaking through ruts, having accountability to keep following your program, and having guidance on how to start or how to change it up can make all the difference. Whether you use a trainer or you buddy up with an already-fit friend, you need to have someone by your side supporting you, encouraging you, motivating you, and helping you stick with it and reach the next level. And once you DO reach the next level, be sure to share what you’ve learned with someone else who needs help in getting in shape. You can become a role model for them--even if you’re not completely where you want to be yet yourself. You’ll be helping someone else while solidifying your commitment!
Click here to read other health and fitness articles by Gina Paulhus