We’ve all had those days. You know, the ones where you had planned the night before to get up and go to that amazing teacher’s yoga class at 8 am. You now you need to nourish your body with a little protein/carb combo before you break a sweat, and you’d like to get in those 20 minutes of seated meditation you told yourself you’d start doing everyday.
You set your alarm for 7 am…on a Sunday…and turn out the light early to get a solid night’s sleep before your early class.
But you don’t get a solid night’s sleep. You have trouble dozing off, so you turn the light back on and read for a bit….ok, an hour…and now it’s approaching midnight and you get a text from your girlfriend who’s having boyfriend drama. You leap to her aide, and call to let her vent.
Once you hang up, your 7 am alarm seems like it’s approaching prettttttty quickly. Maybe you won’t go to that class, even though you adore that teacher and how awesome your whole Sunday feels after you breathe and stretch into it.
Or, if you’re anything like I am, you make a plan to hit that 5:30 pm Zumba class and shake your cares (and those calories) away. But before you know it, those few errands you needed to run have turned from a 20 minute outing into an hour and a half of dealing with afternoon traffic. Now it looks like you won’t have time to run home and change into your dancing shoes and booty shorts. You rationalize that there’s a class every day at 5:30 pm, so you’ll just go tomorrow. Probably.
Ladies and dudes, day or night, it happens to all of us. But there are things we can do to promote an active lifestyle when the lazy part of our psyche takes over. Here’s a list of ways to make it easier to say “yes” to your yoga practice, boxing session, Crossfit workout, Zumba dance party, or 3 mile run when the loudest voice in your head is shouting an emphatic, whining “No!”:
1. Ask someone out.
Most of us feel more compelled to show up for something when someone is counting on us to be there. Call up a friend and invite them to join you for that yoga class with live music tomorrow! She may not accept, but the mere act of the invite might be enough to bolster your own commitment to showing up on your own. If she does say yes, then you can look forward to some bonding time while you both do something good for yourselves.
2. Dress the part.
It’s true what they say about “dressing for the job you want, not the job you have.” The job we want in this case is a healthy, strong body, not a decaying, tense mess of muscles and bone!
You may think tossing your workout clothes in your backseat will be enough to get you off your butt and into an exercise routine, but it’s been proven (in my own experiments, which are sponsored by the Gates foundation, green juice, and coffee) that if you actually PUT ON your favorite workout gear before you head out to tackle those errands before class, you’ll be more likely to get to said class. Think of your workout clothes as a uniform….once that crop top and those funky-colored sneakers are on, you have a job to do: get down to some Shakira and samba til you drop.
3. Have a Plan B.
It’s all fine and good to make a plan to get to that 6:30 am spin class, because if you get there you’re my hero, but let’s be honest: life happens. Or, more accurately, our habits happen. Notice how I didn’t say “bad habits.” Negative self-judgement gets us nowhere. If you know motivating yourself to make that dawn class is a challenge, make a promise to yourself that if (or when) you decide not to get out of bed as the sun is rising, you will hit that noon hour stretch class that your friend teaches. This will make it less likely that you’ll start the vicious spiral down into beating yourself up for not sticking to you commitments. Don’t worry. Anything active is good for you, so make a Plan B to ensure that you WILL move that body.
4. Don’t let your finances get in the way of your pursuit of foxiness.
Some forms of exercise can be stress-relieving to our bodies but stressful on the pocketbook. With all the new trends out there for physical and psychological improvement, there are some pretty awesome ones that might fall outside our monthly budgets for classes or workshops. There is no law that says you can’t chat with an instructor or studio owner about working out a class package at a discount. Maybe there are work trade opportunities or other ways you can offer to compensate him or her for their instruction (hey, get your mind out of the gutter!). You’ll be more likely to get to class if the service provider has gone out of their way to make it work for you. I mean, come on, how nice is that?!
5. Challenge yourself…within reason.
After working the front desk of several different yoga studios, I’ve seen people make one critical error time and time again: they kill their confidence early on by pushing themselves into a class that’s too challenging. Of course it’s up to the studio to provide adequate information about what each class really offers, but then there’s a certain amount of self-awareness that has to come into play. If you think you want to try a class outside your comfort zone, do so with caution and listen to your body! If you hurt yourself or find yourself discouraged by your limitations*, then the chances you’ll be back to that class or teacher is slim. If you have any trepidation about leveling up in your physical activity, honestly assess whether it will bolster your confidence or potentially drive you back to the couch forever.
*(We all have limitations, but how we react to them is the confidence game-changer!)
6. Give yourself a gosh-darn break.
Ok, so after the last four tips about how to make sure you get moving, there’s one last thing that is the most important to grasp: If the idea of moving your tired, stressed, sick, or worn out body is completely overwhelming, don’t do it. The greatest wisdom in listening to your body is truly hearing it when it says “Not today.” IT’S OK TO TAKE A BREAK AND REST. Not everyone has the same stamina. Your friend who is training for a marathon or Tough Mudder or the Highland Games might be pushing himself to the limit every single day til it’s “go time,” but that may not be you! There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in your pajamas til noon on a Sunday….or a Tuesday for that matter! Like I suggested in tip #2, if you really want to motivate yourself out of this leisurely state, throw those work out clothes on and see what happens…you still might take them off and turn on Netflix, and that’s ok…but don’t be surprised if heading out the door to class suddenly feels appealing.
[Devil’s Advocacy Statement: If you find yourself “taking a break” 99.9% of the time, perhaps you need to examine why you can’t seem to get motivated to move your body, like, ever. There might be some mental or emotional blocks that would be worth exploring and clearing so you can get out of your own way. If none of these tips seem to work, it’s just a thought.]
Do you have a sure-fire way to motivate yourself to be active? Share it in the comments! We can all use new ways to make it happen. Happy Sweating, friends!