There are a lot of factors at play when you stop being active. First, of course, is the momentum lost. Have you ever had to push a heavy bookcase across a room? It is way easier to continue to move it across the room than it is to initially start pushing it. Exercise is a bit like that. Second, you are at an emotional and mental disadvantage. Don’t take it personally, it’s science and you aren’t immune. Exercise releases happy chemicals in the brain and throughout the entire body and increases cognitive function, so when you stop, you don’t have the same edge you enjoyed when you were working out. There are some other factors too, like having to create a new habit all over again, the mental negative self-talk that usually comes along with falling off on a fitness habit, and the things that have filled the time space that you had for exercise.
It’s okay. You can still do this!
Fake It Until You Make It
Full disclosure… I have always hated this term, but it applies here. There are going to be times, probably more so than not in the beginning, where you are totally not feeling motivated to move it. Tell yourself you love it. Tell yourself to do it anyways. Trick yourself, treat yourself, kick yourself in the butt. But get moving. You know it gets easier as you progress, and this sucky part will go away… for the most part.
Find Exercise You Enjoy
The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to do it. You want to make your life enjoyable, so why would you add in something that is pure torture? If you don’t like being active, find activities that are the most appealing to you. Try things that sound like they could be fun. Make it personal and fun!
Put your ego on the shelf and start small and slowly work your way back to where you were. Going too hard too fast will cause burnout, can cause injury, and also it probably isn’t realistic to sustain long term and will bounce you even further back from than where you started. I get it, you feel that feeling that ignites your soul. The feeling you can never seem to remember when trying to motivate yourself to workout. I promise it will be there next time, and the time after. It’s like a relationship, you’ve got to ease back into it.
Consistency is Key
You are re-establishing a fitness habit and habits take time. The goal is for it to feel off if you don’t exercise. One tool I have used not only with myself, but with anyone struggling with consistency, is to commit to at least exercising for 10 minutes 5 times a week. The secret is that you only need to commit for 10 minutes each time. This gives you the structure of routine, but it gives you an “out” so you don’t feel trapped. Chances are 9 out of 10 times, you’ll do the full workout, but with that 10th time, you won’t feel like you’ve let yourself down.
Be Gentle on Yourself, You ARE a Rockstar
It’s about progress and not perfection! You are a miracle and if you are putting effort in, you are making progress. You may stumble, you may stumble more times than not starting out. It is about dusting yourself off and keeping at it. It can feel tiresome, but keep in mind that everyone struggles. It’s just that we usually see the end result and don’t pay much notice to the process.
A Little Bribery is A-Okay
Your goal may be very important to you, but if it’s still a ways in the distance, it can be easy to lose sight. Look at what will motivate you now. It may be a new workout outfit, it may be a cheat meal, it may be treating yourself to a massage after a week or two of consistent exercise, anything that doesn’t derail your efforts that puts a fire under you will work. Make yourself earn it (don’t get it beforehand, otherwise you may be tempted to justify procrastinating on your exercises.)
One of the easiest ways to keep in the habit of being active is adding extra movement where ever it will go. If you are standing in line, shuffle in place, if you are sitting at a desk gently sway from side to side. Think of your body like a car, except you want to use as much fuel as possible instead of conserving it. The more you get used to moving, the more you will do it and those little extra movements do add up. They add up in developing muscle tone, developing habits of being in motion, they add up in the amount of “fuel” your body burns. So next time that song comes on, dance!
Getting back on track can be a challenge, but it’s worth it and it will get easier. Grab the free 180° Lifestyle Transformation Guide for more ways to shift your habits and enjoy living in a body you love.
Have you ever gotten out of your fitness routine? How did you get back on track? Let us know in the comments below!
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