You know the benefits of exercise. It’s good for you on so many levels. So… why is it so hard to get started? Learning how to start exercising begins somewhere unexpected: in your mind. Even though 50% of people who start an exercise program quit within 6 months, that doesn’t need to apply to you if you make exercise a habit. When we think about habits we most often think about the bad habits, but you can create an exercise habit too. The Silva Method can help!
The right mindset is important. You may see exercise as something that’s hard, even painful. Ask yourself why you believe this to be true. Maybe you’ve had experiences in the past where you found exercise to be hard or painful; maybe you’ve seen Olympic athletes at the pinnacle of suffering as they go for the gold… whatever your negative mental image of exercise is, choose to change it. Exercise is fun! Your body is designed to move, and it likes to move – you’ll feel better every day as you improve your fitness!
How do you feel about yourself now? The way you perceive yourself will influence your choices. If you believe you are clumsy or just too out of shape to exercise, you will have a hard time getting started. If your self-esteem is low, you won’t want to deal with potential embarrassment of looking awkward.
Good news: you can change your attitude just by choosing to do so!
Use the Silva relaxation techniques to get into a relaxed frame of mind where imagination comes easily. Visualize yourself enjoying an activity and being good at it. Just sit and imagine this for a little bit. Don’t worry about the fact that you’re new at this. ‘See’ your desired results!
If you’re intimidated by exercise, start with walking! Walking is gentle yet very effective and doesn’t require any special equipment other than a pair of sturdy shoes.
Next, create a plan. Too many people go into exercise with great enthusiasm… and overdo it and quickly burn out or injure themselves. Think about what your goals are and how you might achieve them: how long it will take, what you will need to do, etc. Consult a personal trainer or a friend who already participates in the activities you like, if you need some guidance!
Having a plan will take away the anxiety of starting. Start slowly and gradually build up!
Your motivations might include: weight loss, a prize (if you’re entering a competition), approval/recognition from others, looking sexy, feeling strong, greater confidence/self-esteem, and personal satisfaction. Know yourself. What motivates you the most? Use that as a ‘carrot’ to get started.
The best motivator of all? Personal satisfaction. Feeling good about the experience of exercising, is the best motivator! You’ll look and feel better every day. You’ll become stronger with each workout. You’ll gain confidence as you push past your self-perceived limits.
The mirror and a tape measure are fabulous motivators because you’ll have visible, measurable results starting almost immediately.
Challenge yourself to a month of daily exercise.
Don’t worry, this is far easier than you think! Getting started is relatively easy. But as you start challenging your muscles, they start to hurt, and your motivation can fizzle out. That’s when the excuses and rationalizations start, and you’re tempted to quit.
Success comes from getting through the initial phase where you are creating a fitness habit. This is the part where you are automating your fitness. One day soon – in one month – it will be a habit. You’ll just do it, and it will be fun!
- Take into account your current fitness level, available time and your fitness goals.
- Choose two or three activities, one of which is walking – you’ll be walking on “active recovery” days. (Even if all you want to do is walk, you can vary the distance and speed.)
- Commit to exercising for 30 consecutive days
- Create a plan: alternate days of harder workouts with moderate workouts and every two or three days, an easy “active recovery” where you are still moving your body but at a leisurely pace.
- Vary the length of time you exercise, too – alternate longer, easier workouts with short, intense workouts.
- NO EXCUSES!! No matter how busy you are, you can squeeze in one or two BRISK 15-minute walks every single day!
The trick is a daily “no excuses, no matter what” commitment for just one month, while you establish the habit.
Keys to Success
- Whenever possible, exercise with a friend. Having an accountability buddy/training partner does wonders for motivation. You’ll inspire and challenge each other to succeed!
- Choose activities you like. Don’t do anything you dread or don’t enjoy.
- Give yourself time to get through the learning curve. Everybody was a beginner once so leave your ego in the gym bag!
- Stick to a DAILY (emphasis on daily!) program, until it’s a habit. Don’t skip even one day! This is essential for creating a habit. Don’t give in to temptations, excuses or rationalization!
- Measure your progress weekly: weight, measurements, wellbeing, energy levels, mood, eating habits, etc. Keep an exercise journal as a constant reminder of the self-love you’re giving yourself!
- Visualize success! Use the Silva visualization exercises http://www.silvamethodlife.com/better-visualization-with-the-silva-method/ to maintain a positive mindset.
- Make fitness enjoyable. It is all in the attitude! Don’t approach fitness as ‘work’ but rather as ‘play’.
- Use positive self-talk. “I can do this!” “I’m worth it!” “YES!!!” “GO!!!”, etc.
- Commit to “five more” when you’re in a motivational slump: five more minutes, steps, pushups, etc. You can do five more of anything and you’ll be glad you did!
- Start slowly and build up gradually. Have fun with it! Exercise should be a mental and physical challenge, but an ENJOYABLE challenge.
Don’t give in to excuses for a month and you’ll undergo an amazing physical and mental transformation. Now that you know how to start exercising, you’re on your way to creating a healthy, happy life. Go out and move that body!