Do you know what I LOVE? Seeing the switch flip on immediately. As soon as she says yes, I'm in, I'm going to do this, a power of intention from deep within her comes up and begins to fire up her motivation.
Suddenly she is using her home gym.
Suddenly she is doing cardio on her own.
Suddenly she feels hopeful that the downward spiral that led to inactivity, junk food, and feeling bad about herself has just turned around and is about to head in a different direction.
It's a tentative hope. We've all been there, right? I feel good about this, but I'm afraid to really believe because it hasn't worked long term yet.
But still there's that awesome flip of the switch.
Every time I've been through a downturn in my fitness or health, I am amazed at how quickly I can begin to feel better about myself. It really only takes one or two workouts to start feeling stronger and create that change in direction: the upward spiral of positive choices and awesome workouts, instead of the downward spiral of weight gain, losing my fitness, and feeling like crap about myself.
What are the steps to flipping the switch?
Enlist accountability. Having the goal floating around in my head isn't enough to produce meaningful action. I'm done thinking, I want to get moving! I am so much more likely to show up for a workout if I tell someone I am doing it, plan to meet them for the workout, or report that I've done it. Me holding me accountable usually isn't enough.
Have you seen all the posts about people's workouts or miles walked/run on Facebook? That's one type of accountability.
Hiring someone to make absolutely sure you are doing it? That's a whole other level. Don't worry too much about what works for other people. Find what works for you.
Do your workout right. There is a lot to this. Do it correctly so you don't get hurt. Do it at your level and within your limitations. Do it so it's challenging enough to light your fire, but not so tough it makes you want to run away and cry at the thought of another workout.
I've heard story after story lately of women going to boot camps, big yoga classes, or workouts with young male trainers and getting hurt. Listen. Just because you can jump or stretch, doesn't mean you should. Listening to your body doesn't ever make you a wuss. It makes you wise. Do it right.
Connect the outside to the inside. What do I mean by that? Simply notice how you feel before you exercise, then notice how you feel afterwards. One of the things I hear most frequently at the studio is, "I always feel so much better after my workout."
When I remind myself that my mental health is at stake, and I can create a lot more happiness in my brain when I move, it flips that switch.
I like to remember that there are five basic stages to change a behavior. The first three are thinking about it, the fourth is doing it, and the fifth is maintaining it. I give myself grace when I hang out in the thinking about it stages too long, but at some point it's time. I need to flip the switch, which in fitness means putting on my shoes, grabbing my towel and water bottle, and getting to work.
The miraculous thing about flipping that switch is it actually turns the light on. Everything gets clearer and brighter. Suddenly there is a surge of power that grabs hold of my intentions and makes them a reality. My mom used to say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think I finally know what she meant. The light only comes on, and you only get to experience the gifts, when you flip the switch, quit thinking about it, and go for it.