When you’re trying to develop the habits that will lead to fitness, it can feel like the world is against you. Stress, overwhelming work commitments, time-consuming side hustles, and daily obligations to your home and your family can all seem like they’re competing against your desire to be fit and healthy. It can be hard to figure out where you’ve gone wrong and what you have to do to make sure you have the time and energy for exercise in the future. The following will explore a few things that you can do to reach your fitness goals and get fit, even if you’re incredibly busy.
All too often, people believe that to become fit, they need to meet a big exercise standard. Some people decide to exercise for an hour every day; others want to work through a hyper-demanding HIIT program. While these goals are excellent, they’re not good initial goals because they are incredibly difficult, especially if you have trouble fitting exercise into your schedule. People who start their habits off small tend to have the most success in the long run. This is because small habits are easier to maintain regularly and so help cultivate the habit of exercise. If you’ve internalized the habit of exercising, even if only for a brief time each day, you won’t struggle as much to make time for it. It will be like brushing your teeth, something you do without even thinking about it. Trying to get ten minutes of exercise in your day is easier than finding an hour to devote to working out. Once the habit is present, you can then begin to work on lengthening your workout times or specifying what types of exercise you want to do.
Everyone who isn’t where they want to be when it comes to fitness and health has internal blocks that keep them from accomplishing their goals. If you’ve tried and failed to build a habit of exercise in the past, revisit those experiences and memories and determine why they didn’t stick. Sometimes the solution is incredibly simple. For example, if you found it disheartening to work out at the gym in front of all the more experienced exercisers, maybe you are wondering what is the best compact home gym for me? Maybe you have a bad knee or ankle pain and need to get a pair of high-quality running shoes that offer you the right amount of support.
Sometimes our blocks are bigger than that and are tied to self-limiting beliefs. Take a moment to get quiet and see what thoughts arise in you when you think about fitness. Thoughts like: only rich people are thin, or it doesn’t matter how much I work out if I’m not starving myself and miserable, I won’t get fit. Often, self-limiting beliefs were embedded in our psyches in early childhood because of mistakes our parents made, the humiliating horrors of gym class in the public education system, or terrible media messaging.
The good news is that you can change these beliefs. Anytime you feel a negative or limiting belief about exercise, fitness, weight, or health arise within you, take a moment to stop and ask yourself whether the thought is actually true or not. Then, spend five minutes browsing the internet, and you’ll find an example of someone who proves the belief wrong. Beliefs are strong things, and they will often put up a pretty decent fight when you’re trying to change them; be patient with yourself and continually return to examples that prove the belief false
This is one of the most important steps involved in making any change to your life. All too often, we have internal battles regularly. You know the feeling. Part of you wants to go to the gym. Another part of you wants to sit on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls reruns. You don’t want to turn this into a fight between those two parts where one wins and one loses (when you work on willpower, both of those parts get stronger). What you want to do instead is have a conversation with the part of you that doesn’t want to exercise. Ask yourself: why do you want to stay home and watch Gilmore Girls? What need is this fulfilling? If you keep asking questions for a few moments, you’ll often become struck with a powerful realization. The part that wants to stay home is hurt or afraid of getting hurt and needs to be comforted and supported. Find a compromise, ask that part what other things would fulfill its needs besides watching television. Maybe an at-home yoga session would be acceptable to that part. Maybe you need to journal about and express your fears before you feel ready to hit the gym. Maybe you’re utterly exhausted and in denial of how badly you need to rest. Meet the needs of the exercise-resistant part and then go to the gym.
The above tips should help you find the time and energy to exercise amid your busy schedule. Be sure to celebrate your small victories even if they feel minuscule. Over time little victories add up.
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