We've all been there- told ourselves as soon as the kids go down for their nap, I will work out.
And then, the couch beckons your name, you are too full from a meal, you look around the house and decide the five laundry baskets full of laundry are more important. And those things are important. But, so are you and so is making time for yourself.
So how do you motivate yourself to make exercise a priority?
Think of motivation like a muscle- you have to use it to make it stronger.
Here are five things you can practice to make yourself a motivation machine and get yourself moving:
1. START SMALL. Setting goals is great but instead of looking at your goals in a macro sense, try to break them down into micro portions. It's like planning to run a marathon; you don't just go out and run the first one you find, you practice running in smaller increments building up to that 26.2. Set small goals that are achievable in a shorter time frame so you have some wins under your belt. If your focus is weight loss, this might look like: I will lose 1/2 a pound a week for the next 4 weeks. Little successes lead to bigger successes.
2. Look at your goals daily. Write your goals down and post them where you can see them EVERY DAY. Having your goals committed in writing is making a contract with yourself. Look at it daily. Think of how you will feel if you find that piece of paper weeks later with the goals unmet?
3. See it happening. Visualize yourself taking action and reaching your goal. Give yourself a few minutes a day to actually envision yourself working out and achieving your goals. How does it feel? Really imagine every aspect about it and feel it in your bones. It might sound a little hokey but, visualization studies have shown that mental work can enhance physical work.
4. Create a couple of mantras. You know the saying, fake it until you feel it? This is something similar. A simple saying like: "I can take 15 minutes for myself" or "Taking 10 minutes to work out will make me feel strong." Repeat your mantra until it's ingrained in you.
5. Celebrate your achievements. Every time Ethan does something he’s been trying to do for a while he dances and claps his hands, even with simple tasks. This is how you should be in your fitness progress. “Only” able to make it out for a 10-minute walk today? Be happy with yourself, allow yourself to feel joy. Again, little successes build on one another and make for bigger successes over time.
Making yourself a motivation machine will take some time; it doesn’t have to happen overnight and sometimes, with littles it might not be consistent. And guess what? It’s A-OK. If you allow yourself to accept the peaks and valleys. it will make it easier to jump back on the train the next time you become derailed.