- “I know I should exercise, but I’m just not motivated.”
- “I have a family, a job and I just don’t have the time.”
- “I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
- “I just don’t have the energy.”
Changing lifestyle patterns can be as difficult as quitting smoking or successfully maintaining weight loss. Patterns (even destructive ones) create a sense of stability. In general, it is psychologically easier to repeat behaviors that end badly, than to move forward in a new uncertain direction. The unknown is intimidating and the fear that “things could be worse” almost paralyze our progress. So, how do we reduce the fear and anxiety that the word EXERCISE causes?
- Change the word to ACTIVITY. We do many different activities in a day. We are used to activities. If we simply classify exercise as another activity it becomes less daunting.
- Make your own list of ACTIVITY(S). If you’d like, be creative.
- Make the ACTIVITY short in duration. When we picture exercise, we think of exercise classes, Yoga, Pilates, Weight Lifting, Walking/Running, Biking, etc… We think of all of these exercises as time consuming events.
- Make it EASY. You don’t have to sweat profusely and suffer labored breathing until exhaustion.
- Start out 2-3 days per week. Ignore the newspapers and TV shows that talk about the benefits of exercising DAILY for 45-60 minutes. For 99% of society, exercise will never be a daily (7 days per week) occurrence.
- Change the ACTIVITY every 4-8 weeks so boredom doesn’t provide an excuse to quit.
- Set self improvement goals. Examples might include: (a) increased energy, (b) improved focus and concentration, (c) stress reduction. Don’t make the number on a weight scale your goal. As people address self improvement the weight scale has a tendency to reflect these changes.
- Choose to Live Happy. We can live in search of opportunities or tragedies; those seeking happiness eventually find opportunities.
NOW, take 10 minutes out of your busy day and perform your ACTIVITY(S). Don’t be rigid. Be spontaneous if you’d like. Walk in place, do 1-2 pushups, pretend to jump rope, do an abdominal crunch, do a few jumping jacks, etc… Remember, ONLY 2-3 days/week. Consistency is the key to success!
Do whatever ACTIVITY you feel like doing. After 10 minutes, you’re done! It’s quick, it’s easy, but most importantly you’ve started something under YOUR CONTROL that is good for you and will give you a sense of accomplishment. We are far more likely to succeed in life making small changes successfully, than major changes erratically.
Finally, Please share your 10 minute “ACTIVITY(S)” list with fellow readers to help support and motivate others to begin this process. Your comments will provide ideas for others and accountability for yourself .