So we’ve explored our exercise history, our resistance, and considered doing something that we love … if you haven’t read the first two articles, click here for number one and here for number two. I would suggest that you work through the exercises and processes in both these two articles FIRST before you read this. Because, as I said before, the mind works in mysterious ways.
The mysteriousness that can happen is, when exploring your history and resistance, your unconscious can wake up, spin around, and yell in your ear … “time for a change!” I wish that were so, but most often, you have to DO something before that happens. You have to …
STEP FOUR: SPARK JOY
OK … I’ve become a HUGE fan of Marie Kondo, the declutter expert. I started reading her book, Spark Joy, just a few days ago … hoping to find an answer to my own clutter … thinking that this was yet another organizing book … and to tell you the truth they’ve never worked for me in the past. But instead I found a fresh concept … don’t keep anything that doesn’t fill you with joy. Now I know why none of those other organizing books worked. And why this would.
Marie also said something that shattered me. “I have a secret for raising our joy level for things we know we need but that fail to excite us; shower them with praise”, she explained. I began to think that the same thing could work for exercise.
So you might say something to yourself like, “I just LOVE the flow of Qigong. And the slowness. I think I’ll try it even slower” or “WOW, I’m doing it … I’m spinning just as good as everyone else” or even “I LOVE how my body feels walking on this path in these shoes”.
This morning, I even contemplated walking in the Arboretum … I’m blessed to live close to The Huntington Library and the Los Angeles Arboretum. Walking in either could be truly a joy. So you might consider walking in nature and praising both your walk and the scenery to yourself like this … “When I walk here I feel so good … I could walk forever!”
This idea also mimics several tried-and-true life-change strategies, such as the Alcoholics Anonymous mantra, “Fake it till you make it”. Or the broadly-embraced practice of affirmations … positive repeat-over-and-over sayings. So if your current exercise doesn’t spark joy in you, try to spark joy with it. And if you try that and you’re still lukewarm at work-out, move on and choose some other activity that will!
I’d also invite you to explore some unorthodox ways to get your movin’ on. For example, one of my clients took belly dancing lessons and loved it so much that she actually was invited to join her teacher’s troupe. Another, after a pottery class, stated “I never knew doing something I’ve always wanted to do could also have the benefit of keeping my arms in shape!” And still another loved Hawaii so much that he joined a Hawaiian troupe as a singer, started dancing too, and now owns it … and a lifelong fitness arena to boot.
STEP FIVE: DAILY PRACTICE
I’m also a HUGE fan of daily practice to change anything in your life. If you want to put movin’ (I prefer movin’ because so many people dislike the idea of “exercise” so much that it has pretty much become a dirty word. So let’s rename it … shall we?) into your life, you have to make in a daily practice.
Now that doesn’t mean that you have to go out and spend thousands on exercise clothes, gear, gyms, or home machines. When I ran an Optifast-type program years ago, I used to encourage 200- and 300-pound people to “walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back and build it”. One of them lost almost 100 pounds and ended up biking everywhere … about 3 hours a day! Talk about building it!
So you have to schedule it … and I know that you can schedule 10 minutes even if you have hectic days. I once had an extremely busy producer client actually put a stepper in her office, outfitted it with phone jacks and a desk, and pumped away while closing huge deals and running even bigger sets. It’s always doable. And if she can do it, you can too.
If you can’t schedule 10 minutes to change your life … you really don’t want to change it after all. If you’re in that kind of a dilemma, go back through the first two articles in this series. You may still be resisting the thought of movin’ on some deep, profound level. It’s understandable as you may have been couching it for a long time. Or have asthma and the thought of being winded is an obvious turn-off. One of my clients who had … after quite a few false movin’ starts … eventually ran a marathon. So give it time. And keep working on the concept. Remember … change creeps in in mysterious ways.
We’ll talk more about practical ways to put movin’ into your life in the next article … Final Round … Knockout! Sometimes it’s important to put these things in concrete terms like … “lay your gym clothes out before you go to work” or … “stow your gym bag in the car in the morning so you have no excuse to come home”. We’ll strategize some success strategies so that you can “spark joy” in your movin’ once and for all!
To be continued …
Leave Your Comments About Confessions of an Exercise Dropout 3rd Round Below
How do you spark joy in your life? Do you think that you can use the same ideas to “spark joy” in your movin’?