• Gabrielle Babineau

Changing The Way We View Exercise



We need to stop associating exercise with negative thoughts or judgements, and instead embrace it. We should be focusing on helping and encouraging individuals that are making an effort to become more active. Exercise does not have to be painful or time consuming; it does not need to be a suffering experience, and it certainly does not have to be an identical practice or end goal for each person.

Exercise should be considered an opportunity to perform something you love doing – which provides at the same time health benefits for your body and mind!

If someone doesn’t enjoy exercise, or initially perceives it as a disagreeable experience, then it is always going to take convincing to carry out. If, on top of that, their support group are making jokes, doubting them, then it’s going to be a lot harder to follow through with the commitment. Studies show that people are most likely to maintain an exercise routine if they don’t have to deliberate about whether or not to do it. It’s very hard to maintain positive habits in a negative environment.

Developing a regular exercise routine and healthy eating habits are complex behaviours that require a multi -faceted strategy. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start with one small and easy habit that you are highly motivated to do. Focus on one goal at a time, and if you have more than one, then organize, list, or number your priorities.

  • Maintain momentum and immediately move to the next task that you are motivated to finish.

  • When in doubt or when lacking motivation break things down into smaller chunks.

Remember that having a goal is the easy part. The real challenge is not deciding if you want the result, but rather if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal. Goals are useful for setting the direction, and a structured plan will help to determine your progress. However, too often we set the right goals using the wrong strategy. If you have to fight your undesired habit each day to make progress, you will find it hard to make consistent improvements. Find the lifestyle choices that work for you, and a positive support group that encourages you to stay on track!

Research has shown that you are 2-3x more likely to stick to your goals if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you will perform the behaviour.

Two key aspects that also help with commitment:

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Simplicity: It’s hard to focus on your objective when you’re constantly surrounded by noise. For example, it is more difficult to eat healthy when your kitchen is filled with junk food.

  • Visual Cues: Making notes on your calendar or on your fridge for daily reminders

MEASUREMENT:

Studies show that the human mind loves to receive feedback and one of the most motivating things we can experience is evidence of our progress. The trick is to realize that counting, measuring, and tracking exercise is not entirely about the results. Measure in order to discover; to explore; to understand. Measure to see if you’re showing up. Focus on the process, and not the results. If you look at the people who stay focused on their goals then you will realize, that it’s not the events or the results that make them different, but rather the commitment to the process. Fall in love with the daily practice, the routine, and not the individual event.

If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing twenty pounds might be necessary, but the only way to reach and maintain your desired result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently.

It’s also a good idea to pause and take a view of your daily habits once in a while.

ARE YOU:

  • Eating too little?

  • Eating enough protein?

  • Obsessing over the scale number?

  • Getting enough sleep?

  • Sitting too much?

Health requires self- awareness, self-belief, and a change in thinking.

Change is made in the mind and upon the body equally. Don’t forget that behavioral change occurs gradually over time and it is certainly not something that always occurs in a linear fashion. We often forget that returning to challenging behaviors is often part of the game. We also regularly forget to be grateful for the baby steps we take, and how that is an achievement in and of itself. At the end of the day, it is more practical to make small, habit- based changes that don’t completely consume your life. The reality is that you just need to get started. Take it slow and find a plan that’s going to work for you. ▫

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