Years ago I joined a gym. In fact I’ve joined a fair few gyms in my life but the relationship has never worked out.
The problem for me was always motivation. The motivation to find the time and effort. But really? What was lacking most, was a commitment to myself.
It’s taken having a child (and a couple of years of sleep deprivation) for me to reach a happier, healthier more motivated place.
Here’s how I’ve motivated myself to find the time to workout alone:
How I found the time to workout:
Let’s not beat around the bush and pretend that my excuses pre-child were valid. The actual reason I never committed to getting fit was because I couldn’t be bothered.
I would rather do nothing, than something and find any excuse not to exercise:
“I can’t, it’s too late to go out”
“I can’t, it looks like it’s going to rain”
“I can’t, I’ve had such a busy day today”
All excuses I’m sure you’ve told yourself before and none of them valid.
The thing about having a child is that the less time I have for me, the more important I now see it is. I scrape time from the depths of nowhere to dedicate to becoming a better me.
As a parent, I’ve learnt how to function on minimal energy. To multitask like I have 8 arms and to problem solve for those unpredictable moments.
Those skills make a great cocktail for making stuff happen when you put your mind to it. Including getting fit.
So instead of doing the bathtime routine every night, I take a few nights off.
I’m becoming more selfish and feeling better for it.
It’s taken me a while to reach this stage. To understand that I deserve to take time for myself. That I’m not always the one that needs to stay at home.
I can go out, I can work out.
Keep fit by accepting that it’s a journey not a race
I started off slow. I’m not going to be running any 100m races anytime soon. After all, I’m exercising for myself and nobody else. I can set my own goals.
Make yourself accountable and set yourself some realistic goals. Even if it’s just ‘going out for a run 3 times a week’, ‘running a bit faster’ or ‘trying something new’. If you meet your goals, you’ll feel great… you may even want to treat yourself to a little something like a cheeky glass of wine.
Instead of being put off by what I couldn’t do, I started asking myself: what can I do?
I can go for a run around the block – it’s only 2k and I couldn’t run the whole way to start with. But I did it and each time I did it I could see myself improving a tiny bit.
It’s a great motivation to show yourself that you’re improving.
The stepping stone for me was running a ParkRun with my dad. I’d signed up for my local park run 10 months ago, but never plucked up the courage. I couldn’t run that far! At 5k, I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
“I can’t do it, I’ll embarrass myself by being the slowest one there”
I won’t lie. I felt like I was going to be sick on my first run. My legs were turning to jelly and I thought that time had slowed down as I seemed to be taking forever. My time was just over 37 minutes but I managed to run the whole way.
I felt great afterwards and I was so angry at myself that I’d not done it before.
Even if I had to walk the whole way? It wouldn’t have mattered. What matters is that I’d already lapped myself on the sofa.
Now? I’ve finished my third 5k with my fastest time being under 35 minutes. I didn’t feel like I was going to die, so I’m seeing that as a major improvement.
Start with the can cans, not the can’t cant’s
I regret not joining my parkrun earlier. For letting my own inhibitions stop me from starting to get fit. It’s that first step out the door that’s the biggest hurdle. After that? It’s just one foot in front of the other.
It doesn’t matter that I’m slow. It doesn’t matter that my form isn’t quite right. What matters is that I’m doing SOMETHING. I’m pushing myself and trying to be better.
Commit to breaking your can’t barriers:
Take a few minutes to think about the excuses YOU use for not getting out there. If it helps, write them down. Now think of them as barriers. What would you say to yourself when you need motivation next time?
Here are some motivational conversations for my top 3 excuses:
“It’s too late”
Depending on how late it is, either tell yourself there’s still time, or opt for a shorter exercise.
“It’s going to rain”
Buy a cap, or waterproof and get out there, the cool rain will help you cool down.
“I’ve had a busy day”
You’ll feel better for getting out and using some adrenaline! It’ll give you more energy.
The next time you feel an excuse brewing, think about your own list of excuses. Take a step back, a deep breath and have some motivational words with yourself.
If you’ve been holding back because you think you can’t, then stop.
Think about what you CAN do and start there.
If I can do it, you can do it too.