You are not going to be able to bring the same level of dedication, energy, and effort every time you work on your new wellness habit.
Please don’t let that discourage you.
Some days you will be excited and energy-filled, other days you’ll be a bit tired and worn-out and you’ll barely have any energy to put into the project.*
If you are leaning toward the latter, it’s ok to give it your some.
I know, I know, there’s an awful lot of talk out there about how you have to ‘give it your all’ if you want to progress.
Maybe that approach works for some people (if it works for you, have at it!) but, for a lot of new exercisers, that phrase drags us into all-or-nothing thinking. We get stuck on the idea that if we can’t go all in, we shouldn’t bother at all.
But if you approach your wellness practice with the idea that giving it your *some* is an option, you’ll probably have more success with habit-building.
So, you don’t jump around in this workout. That’s not the end of the world.
Maybe your meditation session is only 2 minutes long. That’s not a crisis either.
Perhaps you only do 5 reps today. No problem!
Even by giving it your some, you still held on to your practice. You kept room for it in your mind and in your schedule.
There’s no downside there. Something is better than nothing!**
So, whether today is a go-all-in day or a give-it-your-some day, here’s your gold star for your efforts.
*Rest is also an important option, of course. I trust that you will know which option to take on a given day.
**I count rest, especially consciously-chosen rest as doing something, by the way. Rest is an important part of the cycle, even if it feels weird to think of it that way.
If I fall behind on a program I am doing – exercise or otherwise – I have a bad habit of trying to ‘catch up.’
This either leads to me trying to jam multiple sessions into one day, or to me avoiding the activity entirely because there is too much to do to rejoin the group (even if it is a self-paced program.)
Lately, though, I have realized that I don’t always *have* to catch up and neither do you!
Sure, some graduated programs require us to do every step, but most of the time we can just jump right into the plan for a given day. We might be a little in over our heads for the first bit, but we’ll adjust.
(And, of course, if you feel stressed about jumping in, you can always skim the missing material without doing it all.)
And if we DO need to do every step in order for the program to make sense?
Then we harness our word power again.
If saying that we are trying to catch up gives us that stressed feeling of being ‘behind’ perhaps we can call it restarting or recalibrating.
For me, both of those words have a sense of bringing experience and new information to our plans. That experience/information can help us to proceed in a way that better serves us.
And they let us pick up where we left off without the feeling that we should be at another point in the process.
So, if you haven’t been able to follow the program that you set for yourself, don’t feel that you need to catch up.
Instead, you can choose to jump forward or recalibrate.
The key is that you keep going in a way that feels freeing.
Please don’t let what you haven’t done drag you down and keep you from continuing.
Here’s your gold star for today’s plans for jumping, recalibration or for staying the course.
I don’t know about you but I love the hopeful and promising word “yet.”
There is so much possibility packed into that single word. Something hasn’t happened “yet” but with the right tools/skills/information/time frame it could still happen.
Think about the difference between these two statements.
I don’t exercise regularly.
2. I don’t exercise regularly yet.
To me, the first one feels like something being shut down. It’s final and complete.
That second one though? Well, ANYTHING could happen with that one.
The word ‘yet’ is one of my favourite ways to counter discouragement.
It’s not that I am never going to be able to do the thing I am trying to do, I just haven’t found the right method…yet. I can still make changes and adjustments, I can figure out what I need or where to get further support.
Yes, I know this is a very small detail overall but, words have power and we might as well have that power working for us instead of against us. That little word might be the difference between feeling defeated and giving our plans another try.
So, Team, how might you use the word ‘yet’?
How can ‘yet’ keep a door open for you?
Is there something that you haven’t done ‘yet’ that might still be possible with the right support?
If meditation is your goal, perhaps choosing a new space, a fuzzier blanket, or a different guided meditation* might increase the fun factor.
Obviously, the choice is yours and it all depends on what *you* enjoy in a workout. The key here is that by adding your own kind of fun, you will look forward to your workout.
You don’t have to make fun your goal every day (although it’s not a bad idea!) but if you make sure to sprinkle fun into your workouts whenever you need it, it will make it easier to keep exercise in your schedule.
Here are your gold star(s) for your efforts. (I picked a fun drawing of mine to go along with today’s theme. )
* If you really want to mix things up, go to YouTube and search ‘cursing meditation.’ Those meditations aren’t for those who object to strong language but if you are ok with it, you’ll probably enjoy the (surprisingly useful) irreverence.
How do you respond when your brain resists the idea of moving or meditating or doing any of the other things that are challenging in the short term but beneficial in the long term?
Do you try to stubborn your way through the resistance?
(I have had moderate success with this some of the time.)
Do you give into the resistance and just avoid your wellness plans?
(I’ve done this regularly in the past. It did not make me feel any better and I did not become any fitter nor did it lower my stress levels.)
Or, do you respect your resistance and try to figure out why it is coming up right now?
(This has been my most useful approach for dealing with resistance.)
Once you get curious about the nature of your resistance, you can often address some of the challenges that tend to bring it to the forefront.
Sure, sometimes resistance is just inertia – a kind of energy-based reluctance to change from your current state to new one and that’s when stubbornly pushing ahead will probably help.
Otherwise, though, resistance could have useful information for you.
Asking yourself questions about the specific nature of your resistance will bring any frustrations about your wellness plans to your conscious mind. Once you are consciously aware of the issues, you can decide how to address them.
(Even though we are trying to find out the ‘why’ of our resistance, I haven’t actually found it all that useful to ask myself why I am resisting my own plan.
Instead, I ask myself ‘What would I need to get started?’
Either question works, of course, and so would many others. Choose one that suits *you* best.)
Perhaps you are resisting your exercise session because you find it too cold when you are getting started.
Maybe you don’t want to exercise because you hate the music in the video you follow.
Your program might be too challenging for you right now, or you may find it lonely to exercise alone, you may be trying to exercise or meditate at the ‘wrong’ time of day, or doing certain exercises may stir up a bad feeling for you.
Perhaps you’ll realize that the goal you initially set isn’t actually all that important to you. Or maybe you’ll discover that you have accidentally been following a program someone else said that you ‘should’ do.
(Personally, I always resist a should but I don’t always realize that I’m doing it until I get curious about my resistance.)
No matter what comes up for you during this process, you will probably have the information you need to go into problem-solving mode.
Once you are in problem-solving mode, you can give yourself and your resistance the respect you both deserve and find ways to make it easier to get moving.
PS: If you’d like some help brainstorming any obstacles you uncover in this process, let me know in the comments and I’ll put my brain in your storm for a while.
Sometimes I feel like there is an obstacle course between me and my next exercise.
(Of course, if that obstacle course actually existed then completing *that* could be my new exercise plan but let’s carry on.)
It’s not usually big, tangible things like work or other tasks.
Often, it’s things like having to dig out my sneakers, or finding the right video on YouTube, or the stuff that always seems to find its way into the space where I want to exercise.
Now that I’ve realized how these (relatively small) things get in my way, I keep an eye out for those obstacles and clear them out of my path in advance.
That might mean setting out my clothes long before my planned exercise session. Or it could mean setting up my exercise space in advance. Even something like charging my wireless headphones can make a big difference in getting my exercise session started.
Basically, I do everything I can to clear the path between me and being able to exercise.
How about you?
What can you do to make it easier to start your next exercise (or wellness!) session?
Think about the obstacles that usually crop up for you when you want to exercise, consider the items you’ll need for your session, and then you’ll be able to figure out how to create a clear path to follow straight to your movement goal for the day.
I paused my workout plan for a few days this week.
I was sick on Monday and Tuesday so I couldn’t do my HIIT program or my yoga. I could manage to take the dog for very short walks and do a few neck stretches but that was it.
On Wednesday, I kept my cardio on pause but I could do some yoga.
On Thursday, I had lots of cardio at TKD and did yoga when I came home.
On Friday, I pressed ‘play’ went back to my regular routine.
As a storyteller, a writer, and a coach, I am all about the power of words.
That’s why I chose to say that I ‘paused’ my workout plan instead of saying that I ‘stopped’ it.
Stopping has a finality to it. You might start again or you might not.
Pausing feels like it includes an intention to start again.
When I’m coaching people and they choose to pause something they want to eventually continue doing, I ask them about their conditions for returning.
Will they start again after a specific time frame?
Does their return depending on finishing something else? (Another project, or letting an injury heal.)
If they aren’t sure about their conditions for returning, I ask them to pick a date or time when they will revisit their decision to pause. That frees them up from annoying themselves every day with ‘How about today? No?’ and it also helps them stay conscious of their plan to return.
If you have hit a snag in your workout plans, perhaps, instead of coming to a stop, you can make use of the power of a pause.
Obviously, if you can reshape your plans, that’s great. And it’s always a good idea to keep up the things that you *can* do, but go ahead and pause the plans that you can’t follow in the moment.
You don’t need to feel guilty about it. You haven’t failed, you haven’t messed up, and you aren’t quitting. You are being responsive to the reality of your life in this moment.
But by calling it a pause instead of a stop you are keeping the metaphorical door open for your return. You are making a conscious decision to temporarily alter your plans.
Fitness isn’t an all or nothing one-time project, it’s an ongoing, responsive plan.
And it is perfectly ok if some parts of that plan have to be paused from time to time.
(It’s also ok to stop your plan entirely if you find something that serves you better, but this post is about when you WANT to continue but you just can’t do it right now.)
Here’s your gold star for your efforts to increase your fitness by doing what you can and by responding to the reality of your life right now.