For me there’s one simple truth about exercising. I’ve never, ever, been happier than when I am. And yes, even happier when I’m done. Not because it’s over, but because of how good I feel about accomplishing something that’s really important to me and getting better and better at it. Exercise really is about the way it makes you ‘feel’ rather than the way it might make you look.
Not to imply there isn’t a desire to improve or maintain our physical appearance, but the ‘aha!’ moment for me was when I realized a leaner body and/or weight loss came most easily when I embraced the psychological benefits – because they are immeasurable. Increased confidence, self-esteem, relief from depression, anxiety and stress. Not to mention the wonderful way being stronger makes you feel more powerful.
If this revelation in how you might approach exercise feels right to you, too, I highly recommend, ‘Learn to Love Exercise’, by Jay Kimiecik in Psychology Today. He has some very interesting insights about what he calls the ‘intrinsic exerciser.’ The core concept behind his theory is to exercise for its own sake. To his point, if you don’t get something out of every single run, walk or exercise class you take, you won’t keep doing it. Kimiecik talks effectively about reaching four mental states to develop a mind-set powerful enough to motivate you to exercise — and like it — under any life condition. They are:
Personal Meaning Orientation
When you’re just starting out, it’s tough to remain motivated by telling yourself that the big pay-off is way down the road. It’s going to take some trial and error to find an exercise plan that works for you. When you find what you like and get better at it, you’ll find your own level of mastery and soon, before you know it, there will be a synergy and flow between exercise and getting what you want. That’s powerful.
Just keep thinking that with every day, with every step, there’s a new, healthy and stronger you emerging.