I’ve become pretty flexible in my thinking now that I’m fifty and have been around the block a few times and have lots of successes and even more failures under my belt.
But there is one thing I am not flexible on in my thinking.
Exercise needs to be a part of your regular routine.
It’s a pillar of self-care.
It’s a non-negotiable.
So many people say to me, I don’t know how you do it.
Meaning, I don’t know how you handle all your kids.
I’ll tell you how I handle it.
I exercise daily.
But even though I was an athlete all through my elementary, middle and high school years, and even though I was swam all four years on a Division I swim team in college, I wasn’t always like this.
After college I rebelled.
I stopped all exercise. I became a pack-a-day smoker.
I was thin, but I was in horrible shape. I did not take care of myself.
And I was severely depressed.
So depressed that I attempted suicide on two occasions and I was hospitalized three times between the ages of 28 and 38.
It was after the third time in the psych ward that I realized things had to change.
Because that third time I was a mom and I had put myself in a position to potentially lose my kids.
I got a therapist and I went to intense therapy.
And then I really started taking care of myself.
At first exercise was more about losing weight than it was about true self-care.
And it wasn’t until I made some mindset shifts that exercise became a habit I am not willing to let go.
Because it has saved my life.
What mindset shifts have I made that I wish I was able to make earlier?
There are many, but here are the five biggest:
Mindset Shift #1
Exercise is something you do because you LOVE your body.
(and not because you hate it)
People who don’t exercise regularly view it as punishment. As a means to an end. The end being a number on a scale or the tag in your jeans.
Exercise is a lifetime thing. Not a short term commitment before a high school reunion or bikini season.
It’s the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Not because you detest yourself and self-shame your body.
But because you love yourself and the focus is not the size of your jeans, but the quality of your life.
Not only now, but ten, twenty, fifty years from now. Especially ten, twenty, and fifty years from now.
Mindset Shift #2
Exercise Makes You A Better Parent
(not a selfish one)
So many of us convince ourselves that taking ten or twenty or thirty minutes every day to take care of our body and brain is selfish and time that should be spent with the kids.
But the reality is that investing time in yourself allows you to be more present and focused and patient with your children.
Investing in yourself in this way enables you to be a better parent. Not a worse one.
Mindset Shift #3
Motivation Is Bullsh*t
(making exercise a habit has nothing to do with motivation)
Motivation is fleeting for all of us. Even the most elite athletes aren’t motivated to workout every day.
People who have made exercise a part of their daily routines have developed habits that are manageable and sustainable, and this eliminates the need for motivation.
Which brings me to mindselt shift number four.
MIndset Shift #4
A Few Minutes A Day Is Enough
(you don’t need to exercise for massive amounts of time)
We so often fail to implement exercise as a habit because we falsely believe we have to allocate massive amounts of time for it to make a difference.
When you meet yourself where you are and start off with what is reasonable for where you are right now, you can stack on top of that when you are ready.
The key is to start off small.
MIndset Shift #5
Exercise Is Not Just For Your Body
(it’s the biggest gift you can give your brain, too)
Exercise is the best stress reliever out there.
It’s a natural and super effective antidepressant. I KNOW THIS ONE FROM BIG TIME FROM EXPERIENCE.
It helps you move out of your comfort zone not just physically, but emotionally, and it helps you deal with the ups and downs that accompany parenthood and life in general.
Exercise is also the catalyst for getting your sh*t together in every other area of your life.
When you exercise you are more efficient, more productive, and even more organized.
So the short answer to how do I do it?
I move my ass every day.
And if you aren’t doing the same thing, well… it’s time for you to make a few changes, too.