What’s the easiest way to begin exercising? Let me tell you, the answer is probably easier than you think. In fact, it’s quite obvious when you think about it, but is often overlooked by most people who don’t exercise. I’m one of them. I rarely exercise at a gym or do squats or lift weights or whatever else the fitness pros want me to do, but this doesn’t mean I don’t exercise.
I do yoga at least three times a week in a studio and every day at home. I’m not a stranger to moving my body around but I’ve always found myself at odds with the workout “routine” of this many reps of this and that – until, that is, I found out the easy way to start exercising.
Do What You Can
Let’s be clear. You are capable of whatever you are capable of, right now. You may not have the cardiovascular fitness or stamina to do 10 reps of anything, but it doesn’t matter. You can do what you do, so start. Lower the weight, lower the reps, and make it easy enough so that you can do it. That’s the most important part and something we often misunderstand.
Like many others, I’ve neglected the workout industry my entire life because I assumed I would be incapable of the routine itself. I didn’t realize that it doesn’t have to be something that only Olympian athletes can do. I had this nightmarish illusion that a workout was something so beyond my capacity that I shouldn’t even bother trying to do it. I’ve recently destroyed this illusion by spending some time with people who exercise for a living, both young and elderly. What I learned is that you don’t need to be any good, at all, to start. Just start. This sounds like a metaphor for life.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others, But Set A Goal In The Same Direction
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Even the people with superman bodies have their failings. You, like them, have an equal amount of strength in the areas you most value in your life. You might not have the cardio capabilities of a marathon runner, but you may have the stamina to handle two kids all day. It’s wise to appreciate where you have what it takes already to be admirable. In what ways do the workout kings and queens respect you? You’ve probably got some talent they’d love to have, as much as you’d love to have theirs.
It’s important to respect your talents before adopting the goals of others just because you admire them. Trying to be someone you’re not just because you feel lesser-than usually leads to more feelings of lesser-than. By honoring your own talents, you allow yourself to respect others for theirs and you can then set goals in a state of power. Anyone can set goals in the direction of greatness, just makes sure they are your goals and not someone else’s – which leads me to the next easiest way to start exercising.
Ask Yourself How Working Out Will Help You With Everything Else In Your Life That You Consider Good
If you can’t see how doing something is going to really enhance what you already value, you won’t do it for long or with any consistency. Those who master new actions do so because they see it as being part of the journey towards reaching their dreams. Then there are those who try something new for a while and burn out because they think it’s too hard. Thing is, it’s not too hard if a thousand other people have already done it. The difference lies in how much those people value it.
Every human being lives according to a set of values that dictate what is important and fulfilling to them and what isn’t. Those who master exercise do so because they truly value it. They’re willing to commit their time, energy, and money to the cause because it’s something they consider important. This is the difference between people who are inspired to exercise and those who need motivation to exercise. Inspiration comes from within. Motivation is from without. Those who need motivation to do it haven’t quite linked the pain and pleasure of working out to what they already consider pleasing in their life. The minute they do, they’ll do it.
It reminds me of a friend of mine a few years ago. He wanted my help to hypnotize him into working out. I said ok and I sat him down immediately. I looked at him and asked him what his biggest challenge was in going to the gym to work out. He said he simply didn’t have the time, so I asked him what he loves to spend time doing. He said spending time with his daughter. So I got him to write down 30 reasons why working out at the gym and spending time there would help him have more quality time with his daughter.
I also dissolved the challenge of spending time at the gym. He specifically said “spending the time to do it” when he answered my question of what challenged him about exercising. I know well enough that when someone says “spend,” they consider it a cost to do it, so his language was telling me he couldn’t see exercise as an investment. I asked him how much time he spends judging himself for not going to the gym and how much time he spends considering whether to go or not. Jokingly, he said probably six hours a day. I remember saying, “Can you see now that if you went to the gym, you’d save at least five hours a day which you could then spend with your daughter?’
Two weeks later he told me that he was dreaming, every night, about the gym and going every morning. It became fulfilling to him because he could see it would help him in his primary values. That’s the key to easy exercise and to life – link it to what you already love and it will become something you love.
Stephan Gardner is a Life Performance, Personal Development & Psychology Specialist who helps people achieve mental well being through a luminary understanding of human behaviour, emotions and life transformation. A teacher of personal and spiritual development and dedicated Yoga practitioner, his mission is to inspire you to reach life fulfillment through inspired work, wisdom, and love. www.stephangardner.com
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