How can you stick with your exercise program whenever the inevitable lull in motivation comes? At some point we all have days where we don’t feel like doing things that are good for us, especially the physical effort of exercise. At that point maybe we try to buckle down and grind through it. We try to overcome resistance by force of will, or just give up and quit.
But if we look deeper, maybe we can see that our own outlook is creating the resistance. How we think about any situation will determine how we experience it. Sometimes we can view exercise as something we unfortunately have to do to maintain our fitness level and accomplish our individual goals. We get discouraged because the results take longer than we desire. The process is something we grudgingly endure to get to the outcome. There is a phrase that describes this mindset, self pity.
Several years ago I was stuck in self pity as I drove up to the YMCA to teach a spin class. I was tired, operating on a sleep deficit and just did not feel like doing anything. I glanced to the right and saw a tennis tournament at the YMCA tennis center. All of the athletes were in wheelchairs! I was amazed. A realization hit me. I was dreading doing something that some people can’t do. There I was with my two perfectly functioning legs feeling sorry for myself. I realized that my legs were a gift I received by being born. I did not earn them through my own efforts. I suddenly felt privileged to be able to teach a spin class, and walk, and run, and everything I was taking for granted.
Gratitude is the opposite of self pity. It is a key to motivation. The more I cultivate this attitude, the more I’m willing to do for myself and others. One way to develop gratitude is to write a list of everything, I mean every thing, that I am grateful for. This gets me focused on the abundance that is so prevalent in my life and the universe. When I review this list daily and add items to it, my attitude and outlook begin to transform. The universe becomes a place of infinite abundance rather than limiting scarcity. I become grateful, happier, and willing to do more.
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Nick Ortego is a health coach specializing in biohacking for runners. He integrates modern methods with the ancient wisdom of yoga to help runners get the most out of every aspect of life. He is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and fascial stretch therapy.