I hear versions of this all the time.
“I should join the gym.”
“I should start running again.”
“I should __________ (fill in the blank something that you did in the past that “worked” but you generally didn’t enjoy).”
My follow up question is always this:
Why do you think you “should?”
The response is usually along these lines:
“I hate it, but it’s what works.”
And often with the following added on…
“I really need to get back on track after the summer/ my holiday.”
Here’s the thing.
If you LOVED the gym, and it genuinely works for your life and your body. AWESOME.
If you really ENJOYED running and your body did too…AWESOME.
If you genuinely felt like that thing that filled in the blank was THE thing that you wanted to do….AWESOME.
If “should” (and the tone with which it’s said) reflected that, I’d fully support you.
But “should” is often driven from a place of guilt and shame.
And my friends, it’s a shitty place to hang out.
It doesn’t FEEL good. It feels an awful lot like DREAD.
Instead, this time why not embrace where YOU are, right now?
Explore what inspires you NOW. Sure, it might be THAT thing that used to inspire you, but it might not be either.
And that’s ok!
Give yourself freedom to explore what works for you, your body, and your life right now.
But how do you do that? Here are my 5 tips to get you started!
1. Embrace what is, not what was.
We are constantly evolving and growing. When I was 21 I was training for Ironman distance triathlon, when I was 31 I had a brand new baby and was just starting back with the Run for Fitness Plan. In both cases I was healthy. In both cases I was inspired by what I was doing. Training for Ironman with a new baby was not on my radar. Not even close. Does it mean I’ll never train like that again? Ever define my health and fitness to include triathlon? Nope. In fact, in the past few years (as I’m very near 41 I’ve done a few triathlons and am even toying with the idea of another Ironman in the next 5 years. But for 20 years health and fitness has taken many different shapes. And that’s ok. Give yourself freedom to evolve.
2. Lead with Love.
When we’re making changes in our health and fitness, often they’re coming from a place of desire to change our body. To tone and tighten this, to lose this weight, to mould and shape our body into something (else) that better matches the social norms for what is “best.” But here’s the thing. Change driven from a desire to “fit in” rarely lasts. Believe me, I’ve tried. And I’ve witnessed literally 100’s of clients who’ve tried to. It doesn’t work. Instead, actively work to view change through the lens of love, appreciation and respect for your body. I know it’s hard, but trust me, it’s truly transformative. When you love and respect your body you want to make choices that reflect that. Start here: focus each day on ONE choice you can make that expresses love and respect for your body.
3. Choose Mindfully.
Keep in mind all the components that make up your awesome life – family, friends, work, volunteer and community commitments. All these things play into what will genuinely work for you (and your life). Pause and reflect on what your body actually needs right now? What is it craving for nutrition and movement? What feels good? What inspires you? What will work logistically? All of these factors need to come into play as you mindfully choose your path.
4. Be Flexible.
Back to the fact that you’re constantly evolving and growing….even once you get started, even if you led with love and chose mindfully you might find that what you chose…doesn’t quite work for you – at least not right now. Give any new routine a decent period of time (be patient), but also know that you hold the keys to the car. You choose where you’re going. Remember – your path, your journey. Be empowered to tweak, adjust and make change as needed to have your plans suit you (not the other way around)!
5. Have fun!
If it’s not fun (at some level) than you’re more than likely not going to stick with it. This is a human truth. At some level there needs to be some reward in there for you. And fitting into smaller pants (as much as we might think it’s rewarding) generally doesn’t do the trick. Here are my fave ways to keep things fun: music, friends, good conversation, great podcasts or audiobooks, inspired environments, you get the idea!
This fall, get past the FOMO of what everyone else is doing (and what you used to do) and YOU do YOU.
And hey, if you’re looking for support, my summer sabbatical is coming to an end! I’m currently accepting clients for Fall 2019. If you’re interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.