As January fades into February, our fervor for New Year’s resolutions tends to fade as well. Knowing that this tendency is on the horizon, I’m planning ahead, and working with my sweet spot.
For the past few years I’ve been on a journey—away from the couch and toward an active lifestyle. And I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, for example, that I have an exercise sweet spot.
I work a lot of hours, and by the time I get home at night—sometimes pretty late at night—I’m tired and I don’t want to think about cooking, or chores, or working out. My sweet spot is definitely in the morning. All my life I rebelled against getting up early, but the older I get, the earlier I rise, and now every day I wake between 5:30 and 6 a.m., without an alarm. I turned this morning time into my time to care for myself by doing a half-hour workout, housekeeping chores and journaling most days.
I figured out at some point that the little voice in my head that would spend the entire day nagging at me to work out, berating me for not working out, wishing I was working out, despairing because I wasn’t working out, and generally giving me a hard time about exercise, simply shuts up when I work out first thing in the morning. A morning workout just short circuits that inner nag. That all by itself is a great reason for me to get some exercise before I head out the door to work. What a relief!
Another sweet spot for me is in finding a community of like-minded people.
I saw a friend of mine on Facebook who makes a ton of posts about health and fitness had somebody “unfriend” her because it was just too much, or something. I have a constant stream of fitness posts in my email and social media, and I can understand where this person is coming from. Especially when I’m not getting it done, it can be very frustrating to see all of those sweaty selfies all over my news feed, reminding me that I’m not showing up for myself.
But that minor irritation is rooted in my own inaction. And I find that having a community of supportive people is one of the biggest aids to my long-term goals so far.
I get asked everywhere I go how my health and fitness goals are going. Did I work out today? Am I planning to participate in the Torrance County 50+ Games again? (Yes.) How do I find a way to get exercise and work full time? I started a Facebook group which accompanies this column, and which is full of supportive people. I’m also part of other social media groups, including one full of terrific recipes, and I like to work out with other people sometimes.
Again, here comes my sweet spot. Most of the time, I work out alone, and at home.
The good news for me is that there are tons of ways to do this, and my exercise plans don’t have to work for anybody but me. It’s my nature to change what I’m doing a lot because I get bored. Turns out that’s a good thing to do when working out. Who knew?
This morning, I tuned in to a streaming workout video. I got about 10 minutes in and realized that I just hated it. It just wasn’t my speed, and I didn’t like the music. A year or two ago, I would have given up on that workout, then beat myself up for not following through with that workout I hated. This morning, I just flipped to something new, and carried on with my workout without any fussing at myself about what I “should” be doing. What I should be doing is moving my body around any way I can think of. Boom! Mission accomplished.
Staying motivated is one of the biggest challenges in working out. How do you keep it hot? Contact me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation on Facebook in my group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.