Change Your Mindset About Exercise With These Five Simple Steps

I recently shared a progress update on Instagram about my new workout program.  It’s an “extreme” version of a previous program I did for 21 days. I love it, because each day is something different.  There’s a variety of arms, legs, jumping, pilates, yoga, you name it. But the extreme version, is well, definitely extreme.  

As I shared my update, I admitted “this crap is hard.”  That particular morning, was leg day, and there was a lot of squatting, balancing and plyo (jumping involved.)  

My house was already pretty warm, and I was literally drenched in sweat.  You know the kind of workout, where you can barely see straight because you can’t even keep the sweat out of your eyes and they’re burning along with everything else? Yeah, I think you get the picture.

It felt hard, really hard.  But then later that afternoon, I was reflecting on what’s really “hard.”  And you know what, scratch all of that. Working out is not hard. Taking care of my body is not hard.  

how to change your mindset about exercise

Do you know what’s hard?  Losing a loved one. Chronic illness.  Watching a friend struggle. Not having the right words to say in a difficult moment.  THOSE things are hard.

Starting an exercise program is challenging, not hard.  And do you want to know why it’s challenging? Because it’s something you were not previously doing. It’s new. It’s breaking down something old, in order to allow for growth. You’re literally tearing your muscles at the fiber level, in order to allow for regeneration, and improved strength.  

This is foreign territory to you, and that’s OK. But when you tell yourself, “This is hard.”  You’re already hardwiring your brain to believe you’ll fail. Hard things, are obviously, hard to do. Who wants to do that, right?

Instead, remind yourself that this is a challenge. This is a journey to physical and personal growth. This is something you SHOULD be doing, and you’re just getting started.  

Obviously, reprogramming your brain to change the way you think about exercise is easier said than done. It’s easy to SAY that exercise is a challenge, that it’s not “hard.” It’s another thing entirely to FEEL that way.

Celebrate Your Wins

Anytime you’re starting something new, you have to take a first step. Celebrate that.

If your body is physically out of shape, and you just exercised for the first time in a long time, that’s incredible. You went out of your comfort zone, you did something for you, you took the first step to feeling better, to challenging your body and mind.

Don’t tell yourself it was hard, focus on whatever good feelings you have for achieving this huge accomplishment.

Ride the wave of success to push you forward, just one day at a time.

Do Something You Enjoy

There are articles and promotions everywhere - telling you to do this workout or that one. Friends on your social media feeds will swear running is where it’s at, or that you should be at the gym!

Listen to all the advice you want, but don’t be afraid to try different things. Find what you enjoy. No one should ever have to be completely miserable while exercising.  Is it challenging? Sure it is, that doesn’t mean it can’t be at least halfway fun!

Just don’t become complacent. At some point, you do need to grow and expand your challenge into new areas or your body and your mind will become bored. Start somewhere and explore new things as you go.

Start Small

I’m typically an active person. Yet, I’m also an achiever.

I tend to focus my time and attention on one thing, and it can take over other things. Since family is a top priority for me, the thing that was pushed aside as I focused on building my business, was my health and self-care.

So last year, when I knew I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I started exercising again.  I was frustrated with myself, how and when did I get so weak? While typically, I would jump right in to an active cardio or strength training program, I knew that wouldn’t work this time around.  So I started with Yoga and Pilates. In fact, I did almost 2-3 months of JUST those two forms of exercise before moving on to anything more.

Yoga and Pilates were completely new to me, but they were a great way to dive back into a routine and help build strength and improve my flexibility. The “new” exercises helped to break things up a little and created a strong foundation to get started with.

Build A Routine

I’m now almost 6 months into my new “fitness routine.”  I truly believe, had I jumped headfirst into an extremely challenging program that I didn’t enjoy I would have overwhelmed my body and mind and quit. Instead, I focused on the habit of building a routine. I started small, and made sure exercising would again be something that I enjoyed.

Challenging myself to simply get out of bed 1 hour earlier each morning and participate in this form of self-care, allowed me to focus on the habit of exercising.  It allowed me to re-train my brain around this new routine. From there, I’ve continued to grow, and push my limits.

Just Start

Challenge your mind, your body, your heart and just start. Now will never be the right time, or the right circumstances, you’re never going to feel “ready.”  You may not have the right equipment yet. You may not have the cutest workout clothes yet. You may not even have your gym membership or workout DVD’s yet.

If you’re just getting started, chances are you might want to learn the moves without weights. Sure, cute workout clothes make exercise more fun, but shorts and a t-shirt will do just fine for now. There are FREE and easily accessible workouts all over the internet - Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google.  

Stop making excuses that are only hurting you.  Start small, do something fun, but start now.