Sometimes we have to get out of our own way


“Why is it so hard for me to exercise?”  That’s what one client asked one day, admitting that she hadn’t done any of her assigned workouts.  The reasons she didn’t exercise:  An unexpected snow day (“My house was full of kids and they wouldn’t leave me alone!”), email (“I thought I would just do a quick check and, next thing I knew, it was time for lunch”) and a brain fade (“I was going to go to that yoga class, but I totally forgot.”).

We may tell ourselves we’re too busy, too tired, too distracted to exercise, but those excuses are often a cover up for the real issue:  We don’t plan or commit to our workout time.  We don’t figure out the what, when, where, how and why beforehand.  We don’t think about how hard it might be to motivate ourselves out of bed 30 minutes earlier than usual so, what do we do?  We promise ourselves we’ll do better tomorrow.

Of course, tomorrow never gets here and we keep making the same mistakes, the kind of mistakes that make exercise so much harder than it has to be.  If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to exercise, the answer may be more obvious than you realize.

1. You think you don’t have enough time

I don’t dispute anyone’s busyness these days.  We’re all putting so much energy into the rest of our lives, it seems we don’t have enough left for exercise. However, here’s a fact I often annoy my clients with: People who exercise don’t have more time than people who don’t exercise. The difference is, they carve out that time and set aside that energy, just for that workout. They make it important.

So, how do you do that?  Start here:

1. Find some time:  You know you can find some time to exercise.  Maybe that means less TV or staying stuck at level eleventy nine in Candy Crush, but you can find it.  Make it simple, 15 to 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week.  This 4-week jumpstart program is the perfect place to start.

2. Put it in your calendar:  Block it off just like any appointment.  As you do this, your mind will come up with a bunch of reasons for why you can’t exercise.  Just ignore it…it’s only afraid of failing, a fear you can overcome with patience and practice.

3. Pick your workout:  It can be anything – A walk, a few weight training exercises or a mixture of both.  Check out these timesaver workouts for ideas.

4. Prepare the night before: Get every single thing you need together – shoes, clothes, snack, water bottle, etc. That way you have fewer excuses to skip your workout.

5. Plan a reward: Each time you finish a workout, give yourself a little something. For example, if you do 15 minutes of strength training, you get 15 minutes to read a book or play Candy Crush Saga or whatever you enjoy doing.

6. Try this for two weeks and see what happens. Is it getting easier? Are you sticking with your workouts? If not, what could you do to change that? Shorter workouts? A different time of day? Experiment and you’ll become a more consistent exerciser.

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