August is the Sunday of Summer, our month to wrap up our sunny vacations and get ready for the routines brought on with the fall season. We often set some new goals in the fall and get rolling with new schedules. One goal that people often talk about during the fall is fitness, I hear a lot of folks wanting to get ‘back on track’ and get going again after summer. Mindset and motivation play large parts in your fun fit life. Maybe not the roles you think they do, so let’s chat it out!
First, let’s dig into why you’re getting started or getting back into a fitness routine this fall. Is it because you hid from pictures all summer and don’t want to do the same for holidays photos? Is it because that queso and lake life all summer means the jeans don’t fit anymore? I hate to break it to you but there is nothing magical about working out. The desire to hop in front of the camera and wear clothes that make you feel great doesn’t just happen because you dutifully show up for Zumba class. The beauty of being confidant comes from doing hard things, physically accomplishing things you didn’t think were possible and mentally muscled through it anyways. Loving the photographs that you’re in comes from loving yourself first. Sis, I don’t want to see you start a fitness program to lose weight. I want you to move everyday because you love your body and everything it has survived.
I have been on every diet, done every kind of workout. I’ve been every size from 0 to size my-jeans-are-too-tight-and-I’m-not-getting-THAT-size. There’s no magic in a size 6 or Weight Watchers or Keto. The mermaid-sprinkle-unicorn-rainbow fabulousness of loving yourself enough to work out in a way that you love and fuel your body respectfully comes from YOU. You have to love yourself beautiful, if you could have hated yourself into a different body, it would have happened by now. So sis, let’s try something new. This fall when you want to jump into fitness, jump into something you love, challenge yourself. For goodness’ sake, don’t go it alone. Recruit a friend, even your dog. Think about hiring a health coach or personal trainer. My coach and trainers have made an absolute world of difference for me, I go into that more in my article, ‘A Different Vacation.’
Please don’t workout or eat a salad to punish yourself, move and fuel to appreciate all that you can do.
Next, after we have set some goals and want to grow more and be more through our fitness and health, how do we stay motivated? How do we keep it up after the first few weeks? Some of us love to exercise and some of us abhor it. I heard Mel Robbins speaking the other day on this topic. She absolutely hates to work out, totally can’t stand it. But she does yoga and a few other things every single day. Mel thinks of working out like unloading the dishwasher, she doesn’t like it but it has to be done. You wouldn’t let the dishes pile up for days or weeks at a time, so don’t neglect your fitness either.
Exercise is simply a habit, something we do, it’s who we are. How do we get to that place? Start small and think big. I’ll give you examples from my personal journey; I wanted to get back into running so I could run a few 5ks and maybe a 10k. My health + running coach helped me choose a plan that would have me active 3 days a week for about 30 minutes per day. She really emphasized the importance of sticking to the plan over wanting to do more and run more. I had always jumped in with both feet to a new fitness routine and been obsessed with it for a few weeks or even a few months and then I would get burned out and quit doing anything. So this time, it had to be different. I started small. So small I felt like I was failing.
I kept going, even on the days when I didn’t want to do anything. My coach told me that on those days, just go for 10 minutes. If you don’t want to keep going, then don’t. If you do, then great for you! As I kept telling myself (even before I believed it), ‘I’m an athlete, I run 3 days a week.’ So with that tape playing over and over in my head, I got up and ran for 10 minutes on the days when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
As my new habit grew, I became more confident because I kept showing up for myself. I kept doing new things in a consistent way. This made me want to branch out and do more! I decided to start lifting weights again, with a trainer this time. I kept showing up! I believed in myself and achieved goals I had never even considered! As A.A. Milne said, “you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Honey, you really are!
The habit is more important than the outcome. The results will come with consistency. The healing comes through activity. So, keep going sister.
The ‘what’ of your workouts is not nearly as important as the ‘why’ and the habit that you’re forming. Start small, think big. What does your self-talk tape say? ‘I workout 3 times a week so I can have more energy to chase my toddler,’ or ‘I run 4 days per week because it helps me focus and be more productive at work,’ or ‘I practice yoga 5 days a week to release anxiety and show my children a calm mother.’ Whatever song your self-talk tape plays, make it a good one. You are worth it, your big beautiful messy life is worth it.
PS: Tune in to Fit Life Fun Part 2 for the logistics of working in your new fitness routine into your already full schedule! Y’all know I love organizing!