When I look back over 2016 and think about my wellbeing, the big missing part of the picture was exercise. After years of being a gym bunny and running 3 half marathons my workout mojo had completely left me. Even when I was pregnant I was going to the gym (I worked out the day before I gave birth to Fin early) and I managed to keep it up the first year post partum, even doing another half marathon later that year.
But when it came to last year I really struggled to keep exercise consistent, I had stints of being active but they just kept dissolving. I can see that I had several barriers in my way – living at my parents away from my gym and buying a new house and renovating it, not to mention my second year of crippling sleep deprivation. The lack of exercise made me realise how important it is in my life as in its absence other healthy habits started to slip.
Exercise for me is definitely a keystone habit – a habit that underpins other habits. When I’m doing some form of activity on a regular basis I feel more connected in to my body, I’m less stressed and much more likely to eat well. In fact one of my core desired feelings for this year is ‘In Unison’ which for me is about my mind and body working together. I’d realised that with my lack of movement I was all up in my head and had lost that connection with my body. Check out my mind body connection post for more on that!
I had totally lost my workout mojo but I’ve been determined to get it back! Here’s what I’ve been doing to recapture my lost exercise motivation.
Making exercise my ‘one big thing’
A mistake that I often make is trying to do too much – can you relate? Now I’m only focusing on getting movement into my life. I did Yoga with Adriene’s 31 Day Challenge in January and made a commitment to myself to see that through. What I could see happening last year was exercise just falling off the end of my to-do list and the only way to fix that was to put it to the top. Now it comes first before everything else.
Reminding myself why it’s so important
Just keeping in mind that it’s a keystone habit and that when I exercise I’m a happier, more focused and productive version of myself helped. As I run my own business I would usually put things like answering emails in front of working out but knowing that I will be more productive if I exercise has helped me switch up that priority.
Tapped into the feeling I want to experience
I did a lot of work at the end of last year using The Desire Map to identify my core desired feelings. Activity and exercise directly tap into my core desired feelings of ‘In Unison’ and ‘Luminous’ so reminding myself of that has helped me to make it a focus again because I can see what outcome I’m going to feel.
Revisited my mindset work
Mindset work is an ongoing journey and I knew that the blocks I’d experienced last year were in part down to some mindset stuff coming up. Deep down that feeling of being the last in the cross country race at school and hating PE had come back. My inner record was playing the story that I’m not enough and that I was lazy, fat etc. Thankfully I’m pretty good at changing the record and on forgiving myself. Journalling out any thoughts you have around what exercise means to you, what you’d be losing if you exercised and maybe trying some Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) could be helpful. If you’re new to EFT check out You Tube and definitely get yourself on the waitlist for my Mindset Makeover Course!
Got myself some new workout clothing
This really does work, I love treating myself to some new activewear! Some of my older stuff wasn’t comfortable any more and I only had one decent sports bra so getting myself kitted out helped remove a big barrier. I got some lovely colourful leggings, loose fitting vests and sports bra from JD Sports. They have a really good ladies sportswear section and I love that they have a lot of pieces that go up to my 14/16 size and beyond.
Since I had Finley I don’t like tops to be too tight fitting, especially if I’m running so the loose fit black cotton vest is perfect. I got the Adidas leggings in a 16 / 18 (I’m usually a 14/16) so the waist band is a little loose but the legs fit perfectly. The Shock Absorber sports bra is just spot on, I love these sports bras!
Experimented with times to workout
In the past I was a strict workout in the AM girl but I had been finding that I liked more relaxed mornings and therefore exercising later in the day was better suited. That worked for a while, but once Finley had started sleeping better I felt more energised in the mornings again and with some switches up around my working from home routine I found I could exercise and have my laid back yet productive mornings.
Looked at it through the self care lens
This is something I do for all kinds of wellbeing activities – personally I am so much more motivated to do something when I think of it as a form of self care. Looking at exercise through the lens of self care instead of weight loss or dieting completely changes your relationship with it. It’s easier for me to find the balance between discipline and kindness when self care is my focus.
Switched things up and quit the gym
I do like a bit of variety and whilst I had my gym membership hanging over me, which I wasn’t using, it made me feel guilty but still attached. I quit the gym in January, ironically when most people are joining it, and looked at my activity as being much more variable. I love yoga videos on YouTube, my Barre3 online subscription, Bad Witch Workouts, my local metafit classes, using my kettlebell or exercise bike in the conservatory and maybe, just maybe I’ll start running again when the weather is better!
Have you ever lost your workout mojo? What did you do to get it back?
*sports wear gifted from JD Sports