Of all the self-care habits, we often meet exercise with negativity and dread.
Before you roll your eyes in agreement, let’s reframe exercise for a moment. Imagine a school P.E (physical exercise) lesson where kids are in a lineup to be selected for the sports team. There is always one child left to be picked and does the walk of shame to the team. The captain is concerned about how this player will affect the overall team performance, so his strategy is to keep this kid on the bench as a reserve with no genuine intention of letting her/him play.
I imagine exercise being that kid. Likewise, you know you should include an exercise practice in your self-care routine, but you’re worried it will interfere with your already massive workload. You may have bought the running/yoga/fill in the blank kit and downloaded the apps, but you’re still on the bench. Truthfully, you have zero intention to start, but it makes you feel good that you have the gear ready to go just in case you get a burst of inspiration. It’s time to give exercise its chance on the field.
Exercise is an investment in yourself; it reaps the rewards way beyond the physical and health benefits. Traits like confidence, resilience, self-trust and self-respect emerge and filter through all areas of your life. Although you know this logically, your mind is an expert at designing excuses to put it off one more day. As a transformational coach and trainer, I have heard every excuse.
Here are the most common excuses for avoiding exercise and how you can move past them:
Excuse #1: My Schedule Is Too Busy; I Don’t Have Time.
Your belief is you need to spend at least an hour engaged in the activity to reap any proper rewards. It’s time to reframe your story — even fifteen minutes per day can create results you wouldn’t imagine.
Consistency is the bridge between taking action and feeling like you do not have enough time.
Fifteen minutes is small enough not to interfere with your day, but significant enough to produce results if done reliably. The best news is that you don’t even need to do the entire fifteen minutes in one go. How about dividing this down into five-minute chunks throughout the day?
Professor BJ Fogg, the author of Tiny Habits, said he couldn’t get into a regular exercise routine because of his teaching commitments at Stanford University. His solution was every time he needed to take a pee, he would do five push-ups in the bathroom. By the end of the day, he had made significant progress. How can you break down your exercise habit into its simplest form? Why not do one yoga pose or go for a walk around the garden between meetings?
People often ask me how long they should be exercising. My answer is that ten minutes of action is better than twenty-five minutes of thinking about taking action. The point is, you have time; you need to get creative about making it a part of your day instead of interference.
Excuse #2: I Don’t Feel Like It Right Now.
The biggest misconception to starting an exercise session is that you need to “be in the mood” to begin.
Feelings are not fact. It’s what you do that counts.
People relinquish on their personal goals because they are waiting for this magic burst of energy and inspiration to appear. The only time you will feel like doing the activity in question — guess what — is when you are doing it.
Runners don’t get runners block — they get up and go for a run.
When I have to do my cardio workout, it’s me, my garden and a skipping rope, and I can tell you I never feel like it. What I’ve learnt is that my feelings about it are irrelevant. I have created a starting ritual; I use music as my trigger to get me going.
What can you use as your trigger?
Pair the workout with something you enjoy, like listening to an audiobook, masterclass or podcast? It gives you the double benefit of training and getting in some personal development time.