One of the biggest mistakes that people new to exercise make, is thinking that in order to get started, they need to feel motivated. They think that people who are active FEEL like moving all the time. But, nothing could be further from the truth! Feeling like moving is not the same as being motivated. Sure, occasionally it is, but someone who is truly motivated shows up to their workout whether or not they feel like it. Health and wellness have more to do with discipline than feeling motivated.
So if you’re waiting until you feel motivated, you may never get off the couch! Try to create a habit. Habits require a small amount of willpower, and since most of us lack willpower, creating healthy habits can help us show up no matter what. But just how do you get there? Here are a few ideas:
- Do something every day, even if it’s just a little. Walk, climb stairs, and stand up from your chair more often this week. Focus on MORE movement rather than formal workouts. Being regularly active can help create a movement habit, and help it become your new normal.
- Plan your workouts by adding them to your schedule. There’s nothing like having a to-do list. I love to cross things off my to-do list as much as I like making the list. Sometimes I write things on it that I’ve already done, just so I can cross them off! There’s a real sense of reward for getting it done and you get extra brownie points if you weren’t in the mood.
- Find a workout buddy. Being accountable to someone else can really help you show up to the workout. A friend can make a long walk feel shorter and can definitely make it more fun. What’s more, it’s a great way to catch up, rather than going to lunch. So plan on visiting with your friends actively!
- Workout first thing in the morning. Waiting until the end of the day can make it difficult. It’s easy for life/work/family to get in the way. Even if you’re not a morning person, you can create that change. I am definitely not a morning person, but my favorite time to workout is early in the day (preferably before breakfast). As the day wears on, my schedule fills and it gets easy to forget to workout. Not a morning person? The secret is to get to bed earlier.
- Which brings me to my next suggestion…Get to bed earlier! Sleep is critical for your motivation, willpower and discipline. Recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation creates all kinds of endocrine (your hormones) disruptions making it easier to gain weight. I’ve made it a habit to be in bed by 10pm. Once you get into the routine of slowing down by 9pm, it gets easier to transition from a night owl to a morning bunny. I found that by cutting all caffeine out after 1pm, I am naturally sleepy by around 9.
So show up no matter what, don’t wait till you’re in the mood! This is a biggie. Waiting till you “feel like it” will leave you sitting on the couch! Motivation is not a feeling! Motivation’s an action! It’s all about showing up, despite how you feel. By changing a few simple habits, it gets easier to be active. For fitness to be a regular part of your daily routine, just like flossing and brushing your teeth, it takes action: so don’t wait until you feel like it, get’er done!