I don’t know about you, but I can be a real stickler for routine.
Because of this my mornings used to be pretty unremarkable.
I would roll out of bed, groggy and grumpy, and head straight for the kettle to start making coffee.
I’d then set the oven for 375°F, melt some organic duck fat in a caste-iron pan, chop up a sweet potato and onion and let it bake for about 20 minutes.
While I waited for my food, I drank my coffee, mindlessly sat down at my computer, turned on public radio, and browsed my email.
This whole routine is something I’m in the process of changing, and the biggest change so far is that I’ve managed to exercise almost every morning.
This article will tell you exactly how I started jogging regularly, and how you can use the same simple techniques to effortlessly motivate yourself to start exercising regularly in your own life too.
I began by simply setting the intention to start moving my body more.
And to be honest, I let this idea marinate for a few good weeks until I finally decided to take action.
After sitting with the idea for long enough, one night I finally decided to do something about it and proceeded to lay my leggings, sports bra, t-shirt and socks out.
The next morning, as I stumbled my way to the kitchen I found this little gift from my past self, so I changed into my workout clothes.
Then I went straight toward the kettle and made my coffee.
In fact, I did everything exactly as I had the day before, I just did it in my gym clothes.
But I was aware of my gym clothes and what they represented as I went through my regular, non-active routine.
The clothes represented my desire to move my body more, and they offered an easy opportunity for me to honor that desire.
But I didn’t jump in right away. I let the idea grow a bit more potent before I did more.
It went on like this for about a week, doing exactly the same routine I had done for months, just in my gym clothes.
And then one day I decided to put my running shoes on, too.
Once my shoes were on, it didn’t take long before I wanted to go outside and enjoy some fresh air.
And when I got outside, the air felt so good that I had a sudden burst of energy and actually wanted to move my body!
So I started to jog. And I jogged up the hill and through Forest Park.
Until I didn’t want to jog anymore, at which point I stopped and came home.
I don’t even know how long I was out there.
Even doing just that little bit felt really good.
In fact, just putting on my gym clothes felt good.
When I changed into them I knew I was taking active steps in the right direction.
Eventually the idea and then this small action snowballed into something bigger, namely, an actual habit of jogging reguarly, even though jogging was never something I had loved in the past.
In fact, after just one week of sporadically heading out to the park I found that my body started to crave it.
So I started doing a little bit more often.
I now find myself enjoying an almost daily jog in the woods, and all because I changed my routine just a little bit and started putting on my gym clothes in the morning.
Jogging is starting to be as engrained in my habit-inclined body as my morning cup of coffee.
Even now, while I’m sitting here at my computer, drinking said coffee in my gym clothes, I feel a tug in my belly to get up and get some more of that good feeling.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to do when I’m done writing this article.
But first I want to give you a little back-story:
I’ve recently got hooked on a podcast called “The One You Feed,” hosted Eric Zimmer and Chris Forbes.
The podcast acknowledges that it takes conscious, constant and creative effort to make a life worth living. To help listeners enrich their own lives, the hosts interview interesting and inspirational people to show you how others keep their lives moving in the right direction.
I highly recommend listening to a few episodes if you want some serious inspiration and down to earth conversation, but I digress.
As you may know, the mission of The One You Feed aligns very closely to what my husband Adam and I try to do here at Della Terra Wellness, but they’ve brought an insight to my attention that I was never fully able to articulate before:
In order to become motivated to start any habit, the most important thing to do is to show up consistently.
And, here’s the clincher, at the beginning we shouldn’t commit to more than a couple of minutes a day to begin reaching our goals.
Let me explain.
Who amongst us doesn’t have lofty dreams for ourselves?
Whether we’d like to be someone who meditates every day, have a dream of writing a book, or we wish we were super fit, all of us have big goals that we may not think we can ever achieve.
All too often we make resolutions to change our lives, act on our desired behavior once or twice and then, for whatever reason, give up and return to the way things were.
If this sounds familiar, there’s a good chance you think you’re just not the kind of person who accomplishes these goals.
You might think you’re not as good as the people who do great things, that they have something you don’t have, that you’re lacking in some way.
You didn’t get to eat the special sauce their mama fed them as kids and now you’ll never be strong enough to make great things happen in your life.
Well, my friend, that’s just not true.
There is no special sauce.
In reality the only major difference between them and you is that they believed they could do it and decided to show up.
If you don’t show up, you’ll never accomplish anything.
But if you do show up, there’s a good chance that you’ll accomplish a whole lot.
Before you try to tackle your bigger goals, you have to figure out the first tiny step to take toward reaching those goals.
Then focus all your energy on taking that first teeny-tiny step every day.
The tinier the step, the more likely you will be to succeed, so when I say teeny-tiny I mean teeny-tiny!
Let’s say you’d like to go for a run every day, but you’re not much of a runner. In fact, you don’t do any activities that require gym clothes at all.
There’s your first step.
Instead of setting out to run for an hour every day, begin like I did by changing into your gym clothes in the morning.
Don’t even try to run for the first week or two.
The most important thing is to develop the habit of consistently showing up for your goal every day.
It’s also important to remember that if you happen to skip a day you make sure to start again the next day.
Just because you’re not perfect right away doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. It just means that you need some more time.
Keep taking that first step every day until it feels strange not to.
Then one day, when you’re ready, you can start showing up for the second step, which if you’re me is to put on your shoes and step outside.
And then you can eventually show up for the third step.
And then the fourth.
Until finally you find yourself running every day, or even through the finish line of a marathon.
But first you have to show up, every day.
Showing up is the hardest part, so put all your energy toward that and the rest will come in its own time.
Hold back from what you think you can do so you build up potential energy and more easily complete each step on the solid foundation of the last.
Now I can’t wait to hear from you: What is one of your biggest goals, and what small step will you take to start showing up for it today?
Leave a comment in the comments section below and share the inspiration.
Remember, knowing is nothing without action, so start today!
Thanks for reading this post. I’m going to go frolic with the trees now.
P.S. Know someone else who could use a little motivation? Share this article with them so they can start changing their lives too!