Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Many people have the desire to get started with exercise, but they're unsure about where to begin. They might want to lose weight, feel healthier and more energized, but struggle to find the motivation to follow through. They know all about the health risks that a sedentary lifestyle poses, but they may feel overwhelmed by the idea of exercise, thinking that it's "one more thing to do."
If you’ve found yourself parked on the couch, at your desk, or stuck in a rut for so long that it's affected your health and you know you need to do something about it, this article will help. There's no time like the present to get started with exercise, and it's easier that you think.
Setting right sized goals, finding what feels good, and making a commitment to yourself are essential elements to getting started with an exercise program that you can stick with, for life.
Set Right-Sized Goals
Nothing feels worse than telling yourself, “I’m gonna start running five miles a day,” only to realize that you don’t have the oomph to make it around the block. Goals that are ambitious but out of reach lead to discouragement and giving up. If you want to build and exercise habit that you can actually stick with, be willing to honor where you're at now, and don't beat yourself up for not being where you'd like to be, yet.
Instead, choose a goal that you are at least 90% confident that you can achieve right now. Right-sized goals should feel challenging, yet attainable. Factor in your physical ability, available time, financial commitment if any, and recovery time. Scale the goal up or down until you land on something that feels worth it and do-able.
When you accomplish a right-sized goal you'll get instant gratification from doing something that challenged you, and you'll realize that you're capable of doing more than you were giving yourself credit for. This is how to build the confidence, motivation, and momentum needed to make continual progress toward your long-term goals.
Find What Feels Good.
No one wants to do exercise that think is going to hurt. Our natural protective mechanism keeps us from engaging in anything that might lead to harm. When it comes to getting started with exercise, there's bound to be some uncertainty and fear of the unknown. We don't want to get hurt, sick, or be in pain. That's a normal, healthy response, and not something to be ashamed of.
On the other hand, when we discover that movement that feels good, and that there's nothing to be afraid of, we can relax and enjoy it. People who get started with exercise and stick with it do so because they love the way it makes them feel.
At first we can acknowledge that our feelings of uncertainty are normal, and we can be willing to open up to the idea of finding a type of exercise that feels good.
You could make a list of the types of exercise you think you might enjoy. Include examples that you have and have not tried in the past. Circle the one's that you feel excited about and can realistically do. Choose 1 from of the circled exercises that you'd like to try first. Be objective, and give yourself permission to stop if you determine it's not right for you. Move on to the next option on your list, keeping an open mind.
Worst case scenario, you try a few things and don't love it. But hey, at least you got a workout in and probably a funny story or two out of the deal.
Best case scenario, you discover something feels pretty good and your mind is a little more open to doing it again. Over time you might find that you come to truly enjoy exercise and the benefits it brings, and you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.
Commit to Yourself
Starting an exercise program should be about YOU, and only you. It's easy to get roped into going to a class or joining a challenge because a friend talked you into it or you want to look good in a bikini.
Whatever your motivation is, make sure that it's closely linked to your personal health and fitness values. Friends change their minds and seasons come and go, but you have to live with yourself. Get clear on what you want, why you want it, what you need to do, and what you reasonably can do. This will help you find the inner person who is ready, willing, and able to commit.
With your commitment to yourself in mind, put your goal in writing. Be specific. Set a timeline.
When you write down a clear plan of action it becomes real. It becomes a contract with yourself. Overwhelm gives way to eager anticipation, and you'll start to feel that nothing can hold you back.
Lasting transformations occur when we align attainable health goals with our most closely held personal values and commit to new course of action. This is where you get to break up with other people's expectations and start living YOUR best life.
What about setbacks?
If you find that despite your best efforts things still didn't go according to plan, take heart, all is not lost!
Missing the mark happens to the best of us, and I'm willing to be that you accomplished more than you might have realized. The fact that you were willing to put in the effort to make positive changes to your health by getting started with exercise says a lot about you. It's clear that this is important so don't give up yet. Dust yourself off, reevaluate the goal, make some tweaks, and get going again.
Repeated setbacks can lead to burnout and giving up. This is where an experienced coach can help. Navigating the process of clarifying values, scaling the goal, eliciting motivation, and investigating what is getting in the way of success can be tricky. If you're struggling to get started with exercise book a single session with me to gain insight and troubleshoot your personal situation.
Remember....showing up is half the battle!
Hillari Herrador is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach specializing in women’s health and fitness and weight loss through positive behavior change. She has developed a systematic approach to weight loss using proven behavior change methods that result in less reliance on dieting and emotional eating, and more enjoyment of food and fitness. Her goal as a coach is to guide you through the process of transforming your lifestyle so that you can feel strong, healthy, and fit, for life. Coaching services include private, one-to-one phone coaching, private personal training, and small group training in the local Puyallup, WA area.
To inquire about working with Hillari please email email@example.com or complete a contact request here.