Health and happiness require daily doses of physical resistance and adversity. Until recently, that didn’t pose much of a problem. Exercise was once a non-negotiable fact of life. You moved—a lot—simply to survive.
Now, we live in the age of comfort gone deadly. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more diseases of convenience and abundance have reached epidemic levels. But these issues aren’t limited to physical ailments. We cannot separate mind from body, and our sedentary existences are promoting a rise in depression, anxiety, and a host of mental disorders.
Health is essential. You are not capable of being the person you want to be for others when you don’t respect your own health. That’s why they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
But how? You’ve tried, and inevitably life catches up with you; the kids get sick, or the AC breaks, and there goes your gym budget. How do you make a change that sticks?
Step 1: Decide
First, you must decide that this is important to you. Exercise is the most impactful habit to enhance every other area of your life. It gives you the energy and mental clarity to get more out of every hour of your day. It helps you feel confident, optimistic, and proud of what you’ve done. It improves the way you look, but more importantly how you feel. It makes you a positive role model for your family and friends. Your relationships, your work, and your emotional state all improve.
This is not just my opinion. The Mayo Clinic asserts that exercise relieves depression and anxiety symptoms, and there are dozens of studies showing that exercise prevents depression.
Believe me now? Good. Let’s address your environment and the limiting thoughts that are in your way. Have you convinced yourself that being a mother requires absolute sacrifice, even to the point of always feeling beat down? Are you entrenched in patterns that will shorten your time alive with your family? Are you afraid to look weird in the beginning stages of awkward exercise? Do you feel no support from friends and family? All of these are tough challenges that you can and will address. Communicate, clarify why this is important, and again, decide to follow through.
Decide that you will do it, not that you will try. The power lies within you to make exercise and movement a daily habit. Regardless of what is on your plate, you can fit this in. I will explain how, but it starts with a commitment to owning your own success or failure. You are ultimately responsible for the outcome.
Step 2: You Don’t Have to Have a Gym
Going to the gym is a chore in itself. You have to make sure you look good, even while you sweat because people are around. You have to ensure that the family is accounted for and in no danger while you are away. Then you have to drive there, check in, make small talk with all the people you know, lock your valuables, and then finally get to the workout. Add to it that you are typically doing this before or after work, which means you either have to wake up that much earlier or go out of your way after work. How much is extra time added on to exercise simply by the process of gym-going? At least 30 minutes. You could have finished a decent workout in that time!
On top of that, the gym…