One of the most common New Year's resolutions is: "I want to exercise more." However, this is also the most commonly unkept resolution. Many times people go into the New Year with a refreshed and positive mindset of wanting to be healthier and not feeling so lethargic all the time. Gym membership sales go through the roof, and people begin to plan their goals. However, as time progresses, excuses are made, resolve fades, and the crowd at the gym thins out noticeably. So how do you avoid the cycle of trying, stagnating, and failing? The truth is that there is no magical formula. However, by learning how and why you want to exercise, you can set a frame of mind that is both realistic and manageable.
Exercise does not (and should not) always involve a grueling activity that you despise doing. Any form of movement that gets your heart rate going is considered exercise. That does not mean you can sit in front of your TV, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks, and call it a day. It does mean that you need to start somewhere. If you're not a runner, don't expect to be able to run a mile with ease on your first day out! Start by going out for a brisk walk, just enough to work up a little sweat and increase your heart rate. Eventually, you'll find yourself picking up the pace, going farther each time, until you finally turn off your mind and run without thinking. If running is not your thing, find another activity that you can ease into the same way. The most important thing is to choose what works for you and stick to it. Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself right off the bat; you will only become more discouraged. Instead, track your progress by thinking about how you did the last time, and making a point to run longer, lift heavier, work harder.
If you are exercising just to look good at the beach for summer, then your motivation is not directed in the correct path. Exercise is not meant for anyone else but yourself. Until you can acknowledge that you truly want a healthy lifestyle, you will be exercising in vain, and your drive will fade quickly. Your mind is your biggest obstacle, and only you have ultimate control over it. Whatever thought or feeling that encouraged you to exercise in the first place, isolate that in your mind and use it to empower yourself. Place motivational quotes on your bathroom mirror so you can read it every day and use it as a reminder. Remember how the endorphin high feels after you're done exercising and motivate yourself to chase that high. Think of exercise as a hobby and buy yourself cool gear [LINK: www.legsmart.com/cep] that you can use during your activities. Eventually, exercise will not only be integrated into your routine, but also the most sought after time of your day.
Though it may be easier said than done, here I argue that exercising is MUCH easier done than said. Many times people think about exercising and begin to talk themselves out of it.
"I would go on a run, but it's too cold outside."
"I would go to the gym, but I just had a really long day at work."
Before you know it, your excuses will be reduced to that of "I would exercise, but I just plain don't want to."At this point, your motivation is little to nothing, and you have wasted time thinking about exercising when you could have been utilizing that time to move your body. Before you give yourself a chance to complain about the cold, throw on your running shoes and a light jacket and just get out there; your body will warm up. To avoid losing motivation after a long day at work, bring your gym bag with you so you don't get a chance to go home and make excuses. So what are you waiting for? By now you must have exercise on your mind and are considering doing something about it. "Yesterday you said 'tomorrow', just do it!"