The past year has been a real emotional rollercoaster for all of us. It’s tested our resilience in new ways we could never have imagined.
For me, I’ve found it tough mentally, emotionally, energetically, physically, and financially. I’ve certainly had my quota of highs and lows.
Highs meaning more quality time with my family, more time for myself as well as being reminded of what’s truly important in life.
Lows meaning my Dad being ill, my perimenopausal and hormonal issues causing anemia, the challenges of homeschooling, and my business having to enter unchartered waters and go more digital.
Despite all this, I’ve learned even more so this year, that life is better when we move/exercise. When we push ourselves physically, we can change our mental state pretty much instantly in a positive way.
After I exercise, I feel happier. My energy increases. I feel less stressed and more focused and optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, these positive shifts may only be temporary but there’s no denying that exercise improves our mood and perspective. When I find myself slipping back into that negative headspace, I remind myself that all I have to do is a little exercise and I’ll feel better.
Do I always feel motivated to exercise? Absolutely not. This is completely normal. I have days where all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine.
But again, when I’m feeling unmotivated I remind myself of all the positives I’ll have after I move and I just go and get it done. Repeating this time and time will help you develop discipline and consistency.
Here are 3 practical tips that have helped me stay motivated and on track:
1. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
Remember all movement is good. Go for a bike ride, walk the dog, do light yoga at home, or go for an easy jog. It all counts and if you do something you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with it for the long term.
2. START SMALL & EASY
It’s so important you start small and build up from there.
The latest science for successful behaviour change tells us that if we want to create new habits, it’s essential to start small and easy. Stanford University psychologist BJ Fogg tells a story about how he turned the chore of flossing his teeth into a habit by starting with just one tooth. He made it a task that took hardly any effort, willpower, or motivation. Yet after finishing one tooth, he found he just naturally wanted to do another. And then another. Within a month he was automatically flossing all of his teeth twice a day.
The moral of the story is, if we want behaviours to stick, they should take minimal mental or physical effort and you build up from there.
3. SET SHORT TERM GOALS
One thing I’ve found helpful is setting myself short-term fitness goals and challenges e.g. to complete 10 press-ups in one straight set within a month, to walk a minimum of 15 minutes per day for 1 month, and so on. These types of bite-sized, short-term goals are not overwhelming and therefore you’re less likely to fall off the wagon.
My advice for 2021 is to pivot your goals from not just being about weight loss or body image but also:
- To feel better
- To improve general health
- To strengthen mental health
- To increase energy
- To become fitter and stronger
- To reduce stress
- To improve focus and productivity
- To have better sleep
I know it can be hard to muster up the motivation to move but the link between exercise and your mental health is proven.
If you apply yourself fully … the one thing that is guaranteed is that you’ll come out healthier and fitter.
Most people take the view that motivation leads to action. But I believe it’s the opposite.
Action leads to motivation. And that leads to more motivation.
So, set yourself a short term exercise-based goal that you enjoy for tomorrow, and even when your mind is giving you excuses not to follow through, get it done and see how you feel afterwards.
If you want to try a FREE session of my Live Online Small Group Personal Training & Yoga programme CLICK HERE for all the details.
Happy New Year.
Love Gaynor x