Getting Back on the Exercise Wagon

October 14, 2008 at 6:46 pm 1 comment

What do you do after falling off the exercise wagon? 

First things first – stop berating yourself.  Yes, you are.  Somewhere in your mind you are feeling badly about not exercising, or you wouldn’t be worried about getting back in control.  So let it go.  That’s the past, and this is NOW, the only time you have.

To get started, it’s important to figure out what happened.  Look back and try to remember how you were feeling when the wagon left you under the wheels.  Were you stressed, bored, frustrated, worried?  See if you can get to the heart of why you were feeling that way – what was the cause of the emotion?  Once you have that pinned down (and there may be several reasons), the next step is to ask yourself a hard question:  What can YOU do differently?  No one can change your circumstances except you, so that’s where the answer has to lay.  If you feel you are pressed for time and it’s stressing you out, stop trying to fit in five hour-long sessions in a week.  Maybe there are three days you can fit in a full hour, but the other days you have to spread it out in 15 minutes here and 15 there… it all adds up the same.  If you’re bored (and falling into a rut is extremely common), what can you do to shake up your routine?  Get off the treadmill and try the elliptical.  Bike outdoors.  Walk with a friend.  Take a dance class.  You get the idea. 

The next step is to look at your schedule and do a detailed time map, allow for a variable schedule, but be brutally honest – it’s pointless to look at your planner, throw your hands in the air, and declare the situation hopeless.  There IS time if you are willing to MAKE time.  That said, you must be realistic.  One of the main reasons people fall off of the exercise wagon to begin with is unrealistic expectations.  If there is a day in which you have precisely 15 minutes you can claim in the name of fitness, it would be absurd to plan to go to spin class.  For example, I have an early morning meeting on Wednesday and Saturday.  On those days, I do 15 minutes of strength training before work.  When I get home, if I feel like it I might do cardio, but honestly, I usually don’t.  I have learned to be ok with that.  If I had to come home after a long day and force myself back into my workout clothes, I would come to resent that commitment in short order.  That’s no way to build a lasting routine.

Ultimately, it boils down to goals and commitment.  What was your initial goal?  WHY was that goal important, and is it still?  Does it need to be reevaluated?  Refocus on your reasons for working out in the first place.  If you are trying to lose weight, what will losing weight do for you?  How will you feel when you’ve lost the weight?  It’s the same process whether you are trying to improve your fitness, train for an event, or work on a health issue.  Remember why that’s important.  Write it down!  Writing has a way of bringing thoughts into tangible reality, and its power should not be underestimated.  One last question:  What are you afraid will happen if you achieve this goal?  At first, that may sound stupid.  What could be bad about losing weight or getting in shape?  The truth is, many of us have underlying fears or limiting beliefs about our own abilities and how others perceive us.  We may be afraid that someone will judge us, or that we’ll no longer be able to use our weight as an excuse for not living life, or that our husband will feel somehow less “manly” because his wife is so strong.  Let those things go.  Talk about them if you need to.  Write them down, and then burn the piece of paper.  Do whatever you need to do to break that self-defeating cycle, or this won’t be the last time you’ll find yourself in this position. 

Now, to get back ON the wagon, the first step is to just get started.  There are many people who would disagree with this, but I suggest giving yourself one more day, just to prove to that snotty little voice in your head that YOU are the one in control, and YOU are the one who decides what is best for you.  Build your routine back up slowly, and be kind to yourself.  Commit to doing ten minutes.  That’s it.  When those ten minutes are over, give yourself permission to stop.  99 times out of 100, you are going to continue longer than that, but if you don’t, let that be ok!  After a week, make it 15 minutes, or whatever makes sense to you, according to what you discovered when you laid out your schedule.  There may be days when no “dedicated” exercise time is possible.  That’s ok too!  (But don’t let it become a habit, or you’ll be reading this article again.)  On those days, just focus on staying active for a while – walk or bike to run your errands if possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away, see how fast you can get in and out of the store, jog back to your car, and bring the grocery bags in the house one at a time!

When you have completed your workout, no matter how long it was or what it consisted of, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.  Congratulate yourself on a job well done, thank your mind for providing the motivation, and thank your body for the wonderful work it’s just done.  As your relationship with yourself improves, you’ll come to see your fitness as a reward, instead of a chore – pulling the wagon instead of riding in it!

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Entry filed under: Fitness, Health, Law of Attraction, Success and Motivation. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. PaintandSoul  |  October 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Wagon?? Oh little wagon??? Where did you go?

    I think mine hides from me. Anyway, these are some really good pointers. I always try to make myself think of it this way: Every minute of the day is a chance to do the right thing for my body or my self. Each meal is an opportunity to make a good decision. Each free minute, etc. It makes it easier too when I’ve had a bad morning, or a doughnut, or even a bad start to the week to turn it around.


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