Saturday marked the beginning of my second week in my month of yoga every day and I already feel a lot stronger and a little more flexible. I have really enjoyed it so far, it’s really helped me keep calm and deal with some of the stress that comes from planning a wedding, studying, having a leadership role in Toastmasters and trying to balance the rest of my life with that.
When I tell people I’m doing yoga for 30 days straight I get a lot of comments like these “I wish I had your self discipline, you’re so motivated..” I do hear it quite frequently when it comes to making time for working out, as it’s something I’ve found a way to do. A lot of people have trouble finding a way to be consistent and to be ‘motivated.’ In reality I’d say it’s not really motivation that gets me out of bed and onto to the mat. Motivation is fleeting, you can’t really count on it to get you to a place where you consistently work out. So in honour of my 30 Days of Yoga I wanted to share some tips that I find helpful in keeping consistent with my workouts.
First think about why you want to exercise, why it’s important to you. If you really want to make it work for you, you have to find a way for it to be about more than just losing weight. What really gave me the kick in the pants to get back into my morning workouts after a period of laziness was finding out that I had elevated cholesterol levels. Me, a healthy (or so I thought) 29 year old who ate well. I was shocked and when I researched high cholesterol, I found out that a sedentary lifestyle was one of the major factors in high cholesterol. Also, after sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day for three years had left me with a sore back and I was not ok with that. I feel that my personal experience with inactivity and knowing the impact it has had on my body really helps to make sure that I move and get exercise in on a very regular basis. I also know how great it feels when you are active and move your body on a regular basis and that’s not a place I want to go back to, not to mention I always feel so good after I do it, it puts me in a better mood.. I could go on and on. Find those reasons for yourself.
But knowledge isn’t enough, as my “Surrogate Asian Father” – Ramit Sethi says all the time, you know why you want to and how it will benefit you but to be successful and be consistent with your exercise, you need to make a plan to get what you want. Knowing you should exercise or you should eat better isn’t enough, if it was everyone would eat well and exercise. But they don’t. Knowing something and being able to do it are two very different things. We don’t always like change, and we are creatures of habit, we like to be comfortable so it can be hard to get out of bed 20 minutes early to get a workout in or to try something different than meat and potatoes for dinner.
You need a plan, and you need a system, these are key when it comes to being successful and getting done what you need to do. That might mean laying out your exercise gear the night before, signing up for a class, putting the timer on your coffee machine so you smell that energy giving aroma when your alarm goes off, recruit a friend or simply scheduling your exercise time into your calendar. Whatever it is figure out what will make it easy for you to get off your butt and exercise.
You know why it’s important, you’ve made your plan, now you need to make the commitment to yourself to do it. Whether it’s three days or five days a week. Think about exercise like brushing your teeth, a self care item that is vital in properly taking care of yourself and your body. You wouldn’t go a week without brushing your teeth so why are you going a week without exercising? Figure out what is holding you back and try and make a plan to counteract that. Maybe you are too tired to work out in the morning, so go for a walk at lunch or take a class after work. Find a friend to motivate or support you, someone you can go for a walk with instead of meeting for a coffee. Whatever it is if you want it badly enough and commit to it and make a plan, you will make it happen.
Finally, it really helps if you enjoy yourself and enjoy what you are doing. You might be thinking, enjoy exercise? Are you crazy? But I’m telling you it can be enjoyable, it might feel uncomfortable at first but give it another try. There is nothing like the endorphin high after a tough workout or the thrill of trying a new exercise every day, or just knowing that you did it – you did something good for yourself. Sometimes exercise can be really fun, or calming, or relaxing – you just need to find what works for you. What you like, what makes you want to come back for more.
That’s probably why I jump around with my workouts, one minute I’m all about Amanda Russell and her high energy workouts, and then I’m on the Tracy Anderson Train with her 30 minute targeted muscular structure workouts and now I’m excited and all about yoga. I know that it makes it so much easier to workout if it’s something you enjoy (at least a little) and look forward too. When I got back from Mexico I found I was not wanting to put on that Tracy Anderson DVD and get my move on so after a couple days of hitting snooze and skipping my workout, I decided to give yoga a try and now I’ve consistently exercised for the past week. It’s all about trying new things and finding a way to get you excited about working out.
What is your favourite workout to do? Do you mix it up a lot or do the same thing? What gets you working out?