For most of my life, I’d say I didn’t actually know what exercise was. My parents told me it was important, but I didn’t really know what it looked like, how to start, or if anyone actually committed to anything for more than a week. As an adult, I got into rock climbing, and Grand Canyon hiking, things that require regular training for improvement or even participation. I finally figured out what it meant to exercise, and was beginning to get consistent about it when I got pregnant. After injuries, self-conciseness, pregnancies, and the lack of a positive example, I have found that these tips can be helpful in overcoming obstacles and achieving fitness goals.
Have wholistic motivation
If you are working out in order to “look better” then you’re starting with negative self-talk. You are starting with the belief that you aren’t already worthy, strong or attractive and you are going to have a negative relationship with your body. The things you expect it to do will be harder. Find a motivation that is centered around positivity and presence. You are good enough. Do it for your children, so that they grow up knowing what exercise looks like. Or do it to get away from your children. Just do it with a wholistic and positive motivation.
Set goals with wiggle room
The first time I tried to get into running my internal conversation sounded like this: “Just run two miles. If you can’t do that you’re pathetic. You’re slow. You’re so slow this isn’t even running. You’ll never improve like this. Don’t take a break, you ate (insert delicious food), you don’t deserve a break. Just keep going, people are looking.” I couldn’t keep going. I hated my body and trying to run just made me feel worse. Exercise should make you feel good about yourself. Even ten minutes. Even a few feet. Every step, every minute counts, every slow miserable mile adds up. Set goals that allow you to be kind to yourself. I started referring to my runs as “walk/run” and celebrated every inch that I actually jogged while acknowledging that walking is fine too. Just keep moving. Set goals that allow you to be positive about any amount of effort.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone (even yourself)
Trying to get back into shape after having a baby is really, really discouraging. It took so much effort to get where you were before, now you probably feel like you are starting over. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, especially not yourself last year or even yesterday. Be present in your own body so you can focus on what feels good and enjoy it for yourself. No one is looking at you, and if they are they are missing out on the opportunity to be present in their body. And that’s their problem.
Whatever you are training for, be it canyons, mountains, motherhood, or revolution, just keep going. Be positive, present and kind to your body. You are trying and that is all that really matters.