One of the most common reasons people come my hypnotherapy practice is to find the motivation to exercise. We all know exercise is essential to health and wellness, yet, if you are not in the habit, it can be difficult to go from not doing anything to getting regular and consistent exercise.
There are a lot of reasons not to exercise. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, it’s uncomfortable, you don’t have time, you can’t afford a gym or personal training, you don’t want people to see you, it’s not worth the effort, it’s too late for you, etc.
The first step is to make the decision that getting exercise is something you MUST do. Be clear that focusing on all the reasons why you can’t exercise will not help you. We are looking for solutions here! Refocus your mind on reasons why you CAN get achieve the fitness you want and begin looking for ways to make it happen.
Getting regular exercise will help you to have more energy, be happier, more focused and effective, less stressed, more confident, look better and live longer. But you knew that, right?
Here are some practical steps to help you begin and maintain a consistent exercise program.
- Find a word that is acceptable to you that doesn’t have negative connotations. Some people hate or have a negative reaction to the words exercise, working out, gym, etc. so find a word that works for you. It might be moving your body, getting fit, physical activity, etc. This is important!
- Write down all the reasons why you must get exercise or whatever word describes what you want to do. Not why you should, but why you must. Take a couple of minutes to imagine how you would feel if you were getting physical activity regularly.
- Find something that you can do and might enjoy. If you absolutely can’t stand going to the gym, then forget about that. There are plenty of other ways to increase physical fitness. Just to name a few: walking, hiking, biking, yoga, pilates, tai chi, chi gong, jumping jacks, jumping rope or using a rebounder (mini trampoline). In addition there are plenty of videos and CD programs available for purchase or free online that can guide you.
- Mix it up. Walk one day, hike another, ride a bike the next, take a class once a week.
- PLAN! This is probably the most important step. Remember that most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. Be realistic as to when you can fit in your activity. To go from doing nothing to getting up at 6 am everyday and going to the gym is probably not realistic. Take some time to sit down and plan the days and times that will work for you. Try to make these times consistent if possible. In other words, schedule the same days and times every week. We are trying to create a new habit. Write it down in your schedule book/app as an appointment, and create reminders for yourself.
- Start with easily achievable steps. Success by the inch is a cinch, by the yard it’s very hard. Shoot for 3 times a week, for 30 minutes each time, or even 15 minutes. Start small and work your way up. If you plan to get out and do something three times a week and do it, congratulations you are a success! However if you plan for 5 days and week and only do three, you might be tempted to beat yourself up.
- Set yourself up for success by making it easy to succeed. Look at your schedule the night before to reinforce what activity you plan to do the next day. Be sure all your stuff is packed and ready.
- Use supportive language. Be your own coach. Talk to yourself using encouraging and motivating language. Before you go to bed, use affirmations such as “My health is my top priority and I am committed to my plan to exercise tomorrow at 7 am!”
- Get a partner. If you can find someone to walk, hike, bike, go to the gym or take a class with, you are much more likely to do it and enjoy it.
- Hire a personal trainer. This will make you accountable and will most likely get you the best results. Do your homework and find someone reputable with good reviews or ask around for a good referral. Ask lots of questions of potential trainers and communicate clearly what your goals are and how you want to be trained i.e. “I want someone to kick my butt” or “I want some to be gentle with me.”
You can do this. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but discomfort becomes comfort if repeated enough. To reiterate, be clear about why you must, and the benefit you will receive. Getting into a regular schedule of consistent activity and feeling the benefits can be one of your greatest accomplishments. Call me if you need help!