It is the end of another long day and you would like to workout but you are exhausted. You want to get in shape but it is just so hard to find the time, energy and motivation. You see those fitness enthusiasts out there and you vary between thinking "Good for them! I wish I could do that!" and wanting punch them in the nose a little bit if they mention their workout program one more time.
I get it. You aren't alone. And if you are like the rest of us you are pretty busy and finding time to even read an article about fitness can be a challenge. So let's get right to the motivational point and not drag this out like a 3 year old trying to avoid going to bed.
What I am about to tell you is something you likely already know: You'll feel better after you workout. Not just a week from now. Not a month from now. Immediately. The endorphins, the feeling of accomplishment, the stress relief and the community all work together to create a much more fulfilled and invigorated version of you.
Anyone who regularly works out can tell you that it isn't very long before your body actually starts to crave and desire a regular workout regimen. The affect on the body and mind is so influencing that it is hard to miss out on. It does simply feel good to feel good.
So what's stopping us? If it is such a wonderful thing why is it so hard to start and why do people backslide and fall off the wagon.
Well, a few reasons.
One of the most obvious is poor nutrition. Even with the best workout program a healthy nutrient rich diet is essential for optimum health. Most of us know the sluggish feeling we get after making unhealthy food choices. And once you know how your body is supposed to feel it is even clearer how good it doesn't feel when you make poor food choices. Working out becomes a challenge when your body feels as if you've been treating it like a trash compactor. Make sure your food choices benefit the lifestyle you want to have. No one is suggesting an overly restrictive diet. Just healthy choices with moderation on those foods that cause problems.
Another reason is losing sight of the big picture. Many health battles are won and loss in a relatively small window of time simply because it is easy to forget what's important. When the day has been long and your energy is low it can be hard to remember the payoff of pushing yourself to go a little longer. Those small moments in time when we choose what feels good in that moment and aren't thinking beyond the day.
A third reason is the feeling of pointlessness. When you first start out the goal seems so far away. It becomes so easy to put it off just one more day or allow the time to just slip by. As a veteran who has been active for awhile it is easy to miss how much a program is benefitting your body. Little by little you just miss it here and there. It can be hard to remember how valuable what you are doing is because you've become so over familiar with it.
Finally, there really always is something else that needs to be done. Life doesn't usually just hand us free time on a silver platter and ask us what we'd like to do. There is often so much that needs to be done that taking time out of a day to just invest in our own bodies seems selfish.
Here is the thing about all the reasons above: They are all a sign that you've lost sight of just how important taking care of yourself is to the bigger picture. As long as you are alive you will always have more junk to buy and more chores to do. Life will always have fires in need of being put out and people demanding you to meet their needs. You will always experience seasons of negative emotions and trials.
Yet, it is because of those reasons you really need to take the time to serve your own body and make it work. While you sit at home just trying to talk yourself into doing one more chore while trying not to drift off to sleep on the couch you are hurting your long term abilities of keeping up with the world around you and showing up for the things that are most important to you.
The way you and your body feels is important and important to listen to but it is equally important that you know the difference between feeling too tired to workout and actually being too tired.
Rest is extremely important. Knowing when and how to give your body breaks is actually an important part of the fitness process but many times we, as humans, give up because we are listening to an inner voice that wants us to stop making it work hard.
So what can you do? How can you feel motivated to do something your body doesn't feel like it wants you to?
Well, you take the ability to cancel off the table. The workout is not an option. You get up, get dressed and you go. You don't try to decide if you are going. You don't wait for some friend to tell you to go. You don't wait and see what the weather is going to be. You don't let yourself make a decision later. You simply go. In the same way you go to work.
Optimize your food choices. We all know nutrition is one of our hardest things to conquer but try not to sabotage your workout with unnecessary food choices that weigh you down and make you feel like garbage. It is so hard to make good physical decisions when your belly is carrying around 20 extra pounds of junk food.
Don't listen to negative voices. That goes for all the voices that interact with you. Don't sit somewhere and just wait for negativity to settle in. You don't have to do what your brain says. Good though it may be, your heart wants the same thing you do: a vacation from the real work. Sometimes you have to talk to it like a subordinate and make it work for you. It can play when it has earned its keep.
It is important for you to make time for yourself and to workout. The chemicals released in your body alone will help you navigate the next day. You are a much more tolerable person when you feel good about yourself, are confident and have an outlet for all of the stress you carry.
So when you aren't feeling like you can workout or when you are thinking about postponing beginning the workout remember that motivation isn't a feeling. It can't be based on emotion. Your motivation will come as you really dedicate yourself to the process and show up to put in the work. After you've worked out for awhile your body will want to be on the dance floor but you won't feel that if you just keep putting it off for another day.
You will feel better once you workout. You will feel better after you take a class. Don't lose sight of the big picture. Don't listen to that negative voice. You have it in you. Don't let yourself talk you out of it. You have more in there than you could ever know.
Push yourself. It will be worth it.