It's spring and you may be dreaming of warmer weather and all the energy and new life that comes with it. It's a great time to shake off the winter doldrums and tap into the vitality that is all around you. Perhaps you're also realizing that your body has not been as active over the winter as you might have hoped (or even planned). You're not alone!
Although your body was made to move, it's no secret that our modern lifestyle doesn't create the ideal conditions to stay active. So, you may need to be strategic if you're going to give your body what it needs. If you'd like to put more "spring in your step", here are five tips to get you moving in a healthier direction:
1) Choose something you'll do today — We've all heard this before: "The perfect exercise is the one you'll do" and it makes good sense. Even though we know this, how many of us postpone action because we are waiting for the "right" time to do the "right" exercise? Research has shown that even small amounts of exercise provide benefit, so don't fall into this trap. Be willing to make an "imperfect" start. You can always add or modify your routine. Start by picking something you can do now and then do it!
2) Make dates with yourself — When you pick a physical activity, plan when you'll do it and put it in your calendar. Whether this means attending a yoga class or allowing extra time to walk from the far end of the parking lot to your office, schedule it into your day. Activities that are in your calendar are harder to ignore. And if you ignore one, you'll have an opportunity to notice that you did and become curious about what you could change to keep your appointment the next time.
3) Track your actions — Choosing actions, completing them, and tracking your accomplishments will allow you to see what is actually getting done. If you're getting the results you want, this practice can really add to your momentum. If you aren't getting the results you want, this practice can provide insight into what changes could give you a different result. It can be tempting to minimize the small steps that are moving you forward, and tracking your action helps prevent that pitfall.
4) Look for the Gold — In addition to being great for your physical and mental health, exercise and movement may provide opportunities to nourish other aspects of your well-being. Different forms of movement could allow you to enjoy the company of other people, learn new skills, connect to nature, or enjoy adventures. A simple walk could also be a chance to listen to an audiobook, practice mindfulness, talk to your friend, or practice birdwatching. Identifying and appreciating multiple benefits of movement and exercise will make you more inclined to want to do it (and continue doing it).
5) Practice Self-Compassion — As you make changes, you could also notice discouraging thoughts and feelings. If you notice these, congratulate yourself on noticing! That means you're paying attention. Allow yourself to have these thoughts or feelings without judgement. Remind yourself that you don't have to believe everything you think! If you notice that your "inner critic" is trying to run the show, seek out resources that will build your capacity for self-compassion.
This week on the Nudge, we'll be having a conversation about "Creative Ways to Work in your Workout" with guest expert Alison Hannh-Katschkowsky . Please join us for what promises to be an interesting conversation!
What have you learned about getting yourself in motion? I'd love for you to share your wisdom with me!