The Secret To Effortless ExerciseFull disclosure: I’m writing this post as I eat my third zucchini cookie of the day – and experiencing zero guilt.
To be fair, for someone who’s job statistically labels her as “sedentary” - and completely backing up that fact – I have a moderate to good relationship with fitness and health. But let’s face it: Blogging, designing and running a creative business from home sets up the perfect atmosphere for a sedentary lifestyle, especially when squeezing in an extra hour of work is sometimes a bigger priority in our lives.
I believe that the place where we put *ourselves* on our mental priority list directly dictates how good of a relationship we have with exercise and spirituality (or at least that has been true in my own life). Awareness plays a lead role in making us believe we deserve something and in understanding that one hour dedicated to ourselves is an hour gained, not an hour lost – or that eating healthy is not a temporary quick fix but a life habit.
Being aware of ourselves first when it comes to a healthier lifestyle is (surprisingly) not just about vanity and shedding the pounds, although it’s a nifty side effect, don’t you think? Being aware of ourselves makes us uncomfortable enough with our sedentarism to provoke us to action.
The secret to effortless exercise is learning to redefine the way we see effort itself, not as something that sucks the life out of us. It changes from, "There’s no time for it" to, "I’ll make time for it". That’s where the rubber hit the road and makes us more prone to creating a realistic system for ourselves that fits into our lives and that we can maintain.
You exercise and live healthy effortlessly when you:
1. Ease into it – Most people fail at creating healthy habits because they don’t ease into it. You need to start from the beginning when it comes to building a healthier lifestyle, no exception. Start with something that your mind recognizes as effortless. For example, move at a slow pace for 15 minutes today rather than signing up for a military style boot camp... or switch out white bread for wholewheat bread. Simple is always smart.
2. Redefine your limiting beliefs – Our beliefs are shaped by past experiences, logic and emotion. Once a belief is formed we reject the thought that something can be any other way: If you believe that you can’t do something, you speak and act like someone who can’t, so you actually can’t. Reshaping a belief is about changing the way we speak about things and ourselves. I love the way Tony Horton puts it: Instead of saying, “I can’t” say, “I presently struggle with...” - then act on that new belief.
3. Be present – Creating healthy habits is a day-by-day process. It’s about what you’re doing today that’s good for you... not about what you will be able to do, feel or look like a year from now. Practicing mindfulness inherently allows you to find the process itself satisfying not only the outcomes.
4. Align it with your personality – If your actions and habits don’t align with your personality you will soon lose your interest... and you know how that goes. First despondency... and then you'll jump ship. It’s key to recognize how beautifully different we are and how that triggers what we fall in love with. I love yoga and practice it once a week for 1.5 hours - but doing that every single day just doesn’t align with my personality. Things that have me jumping, moving and rolling on the floor are more *me*. Like Plyometrics. So that's the highlight of my week. The same can be applied to healthy eating. If you’re not someone who loves smoothies, why drink them? Eat the way you like and make smart healthy choices.
5. Condition yourself for it – A lot of us have all these good intentions but when it comes time to put them into practice, we find something better to do or to eat because we don’t condition ourselves and our lives for action. For example, you are much more likely to exercise if you intentionally focus on simply putting on your gym clothes and shoes. Just the way you're more likely to eat better by planning your meals in advance. Conditioning is setting yourself up for success which in the end is winning.
Keep in mind that this is not all about getting shredded abs... it’s about creating new habits and new beliefs so that exercise is always effortless no matter it’s shape, form or level of intensity. No fitness Guru in the world is going to talk you into making the shift to living a healthier life style if you don’t set yourself up for success.
Do you have any limiting mindsets when it comes to exercise and healthy living?
Please, let me know if you want the recipes for these cookies. I tell you, they’re scrumptious.
Photography: Adidas Originals