Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Don't WANT To Exercise!

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who has been struggling with her weight.  She has had so much crazy stuff in her life going on that stress has been a major hindrance to her progress lately. To get herself back into the right mode, she shared with me the wonderful plan she had written down of healthy foods choices for the day.  She was on a great roll! I was very proud of her---sometimes we need to stop and celebrate the minutes we stay in control of our eating. It looked like she was all set for success for the entire day.  When I checked back in with her later in the afternoon, the food was still on track, but her head wasn't.  The blah's had struck and she didn't feel like going home and exercising---her sofa sounded much more inviting at that point.  Can you relate to her?  

What should we do when we just don't want to exercise? Do the couch potatoes have it right? You know they don't!  They are just lying there, slowly losing muscle mass, gaining body fat, and letting their arteries clog up as they watch NCIS reruns.  We are NOT going to let ourselves go down that path.  We are going to take action and do something about our health!

To Motivate A Friend (or Yourself) Into ACTION:
  • Just Do It!  Nike has it right with that logo.  Don't allow yourself to engage in a conversation about whether or not you're going to exercise.  You're just going to do it (unless you are injured or ill!) Treat it just as you do brushing your teeth or hair--it's part of good self care. The only discussion allowed is how you will do it for the day: mow the lawn, yoga, walk, run, swim, or is it a gentle stretching day...
  • Visualize.  Practice first.  See yourself going home, starting dinner, putting on your exercise clothes, and jumping onto the elliptical machine.  Imagine yourself smiling as you sweat---it's good stuff!  See yourself done with the workout and smiling even bigger.  Imagine how GREAT you feel!
  • Awesome After.  If you keep thinking about not feeling like exercise, STOP.  Focus instead on how you are going to feel when you are done.  You're going to feel wonderful when it's done!  Refreshed,  awesome, powerful, virtuous...rock star status.  Use that feeling to help lift you off your duff and start moving!  
  • Get Support.  Call a friend, explain the problem and ask for help getting motivated to workout. Don't call the friend who will talk you into going out for ice cream or a beer after work instead, though! 
  • Buddy System. Sometimes having an exercise date all set with a friend works so well that you aren't tempted to ditch that walk. Walking with a friend is a great way to both exercise and talk out all those frustrations causing you stress.
  • Keep trying.  Repeat.  Don't give up on yourself.  If the sofa wins one day, so be it.  It could be you needed a little rest, just don't make it a habit.  Just keep trying until the new habit is getting that body of yours in motion and truly loving it that way!
And my friend?  I am very happy to say, she just did it!  She grabbed the motivation I tried to give her, visualized as she drove home, started dinner, worked out, and felt really great about herself at the end of the day. And I'm very proud of her, too.  

Moral of this story?  Keep on kicking, don't you ever give up! 


  1. I love this article. I have problems all the time with self motivation. My husband is always good at getting me to play with the kids at night, but I have to make a conscious effort to make time for my own exercises. There are so many nights when I'm tired and the couch looks so much more inviting. I will try to visualize that post-exercise good feeling.

  2. I get up at 5 AM 3 days a week to exercise before getting ready for work. Sometimes it is SO hard to get out of bed, but I just remember how good I feel for the rest of the day when I do exercise, and how awful I felt the times I did decide to roll over and go back to sleep. That usually does the trick!

  3. Visualizing how you'll feel afterward is a great motivator! I'm glad to see it's working for you, Angie. Hope it's starting to work for you, too, Anne!

  4. No matter how i try I just can't. Everyday it is a struggle to follow my fitness cards. After a couple i feel like going back to sleep. I know it is just a matter of mind but I just find it so hard.



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