I want to make 2019 my healthiest year yet!
I mean, that’s what we all say around this time of the year, isn’t it? But I do. I want to have a healthier, stronger body, I want to eat better and drink more water; I want to spend less time watching TV and more time learning and creating, and I want to start journaling again because my head and my heart both would thank me for it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I actually started working exercise into my routine sometime back in the fall.
And if you know me at all, this might make you question everything about your entire existence. Because for the first twenty years of my life, I would never make a point to exercise.
I spend so much of my time chasing little siblings around that I’m not sure I could call myself a couch potato, but I hated the idea of exercise. There were about a million excuses I would use to talk myself out of a workout; because life is tiring, and maybe my lifestyle was “good enough”, and I just didn’t want to.
Let me tell you what, my dudes . . . I’m so glad that I’ve gotten away from that mindset!
Maybe you’re looking ahead to this new year and you want to make a similar change. You won’t regret it! Let me tell you why, and then I have some resources and ideas about how to actually start exercising even when you hate it.
YOU FEEL HAPPIER
This might have been my biggest surprise when I started exercising regularly. I had heard it often enough, but I didn’t believe it. How could you feel happier when exercising feels like you’re gonna die?
I still don’t love actually exercising. But you can’t really argue with the science of your brain giving you endorphins, and knowing my mood will be better once I’ve finished a work out is often what pushes me to exercise in the first place.
You’ve probably heard that exercise is good for depression, and this is one of the reasons why.
YOU SLEEP BETTER
I love sleeping, but I’m not always great at it.
But exercise helps us sleep better for a few different reasons!
Our bodies were made to work much more than we do sitting at our desk jobs. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted at the end of the day, but my body doesn’t think it’s time to sleep yet because it hasn’t done enough work throughout the day.
A good exercise routine helps with this. And there’s a whole cycle of sleep that exists to help us recuperate after a long day of physical labor—and yay!!—it’s deep sleep. This part of the sleep cycle not only helps us feel well-rested, but it also helps to control anxiety levels (there’s that feeling happier thing again!), supports the immune system, and keeps our hearts healthy.
So if you add just twentyish minutes of exercise into that busy schedule of yours, you might notice that you’re falling asleep more quickly, sleeping more deeply, and waking up feeling ready to face the day!
I still need a few cups of coffee in the morning before I’m really ready for the day ahead, but sleeping better is huge!
YOU HAVE MORE ENERGY
More energy?? And not from an extra shot of espresso? Sign. Me. Up.
You’re sleeping better, and your body is doing what it was meant to do, and that has all sorts of benefits! It’s still important to know and respect your limits, but you’ll find that those will change the more you exercise, too. That pilates video that felt impossible a few weeks ago? You can do it twice now!
Exercise boosts circulation and makes our hearts stronger!
YOU’LL FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF
With all of the photoshopped pictures we see all day, every day, the gorgeous celebrities they put in movies and TV shows, and with clothing being made to fit one specific body type, staying positive about your body and the way you look feels impossible sometimes.
But I’m sitting here writing about how I fell in love with exercising and I haven’t seen any real changes to my body. Simply knowing that I’m showing up for myself, and making a commitment to my health, feels amazing!
It’s also super great to know that I’m setting goals for myself, and I’m crushing them! Some days they feel like they might crush me, but that’s when I have to work just a little harder. It’s worth it!
I don’t know about you, but I want to get up and do a pilates video right now. BUT STICK AROUND! Because we still need to talk about how you can start to exercising, like, right now!
Find what exercise is right for you
There are so many different kinds of exercising, and you might have to try a few before you find something you really enjoy.
If you want to start weight training, go for it! There are a ton of different kinds of aerobics; like swimming, running, and biking. Maybe one of those appeals to you.
I started out my exercise journey with yoga. It was something I already had the equipment for, and it was something that seemed gentle enough to not make me quit right away.
I found a YouTube channel that I liked and started there; Yoga With Adriene. This channel also has a month-long yoga challenge at the beginning of the year and I adore it. It got me into a good routine there for a while, and even though it eventually faded, I was able to see my flexibility and strength improve with just thirty days of practicing. These challenges were what introduced me to what exercising regularly could do for my heart, mind, and body.
From there, I’ve moved onto pilates, at the ever-lovely (and kinda evil) Blogilates channel. It’s more intense than most of the other yoga sequences I was doing, and I want to continue to get stronger and get better at it! And one of the reasons I like her channel so much is it helps me get in a decent workout in a short amount of time.
Life is super busy. I don’t have an hour to workout every day. But with her PIIT videos, it’s possible to get in a good workout in just half an hour. (I can’t quite manage to a video all four times like I should, so I get a good 20 minutes in! Someday I’ll be there!)
Find a group—if you want to
Maybe you’re like me and you hate the idea of exercising in front of other people. That’s okay! You don’t have to join a gym or convince your friends to workout with you.
But if you do need a support group to keep you motivated, find those people and find the right place to exercise!
Just the other day I asked my friend to text me so I wouldn’t ignore the workout I needed to do. So just because you don’t go to the gym doesn’t mean you won’t have encouragement!
Start small, but work hard to achieve them! That sense of accomplishment will make you want to set even bigger and better goals—and crush them!
When I started out, it wasn’t about losing inches or pounds; it was about making the commitment to my health. I wanted to exercise three days a week. Then it moved to five. Once I’m consistently meeting that goal, maybe I’ll bump it up to every day . . . or maybe I’ll focus on a certain pose in yoga, or being able to plank for a few minutes at a time.
Make sure you find a time of day that works for you. I had to experiment here, and I haven’t totally figured it out just yet, but I find I’m more likely to exercise sometime in the late afternoon. Blocking out some time in your schedule that is for exercising will help you build it into your routine.
And maybe you need a reward system in place! There are days when I won’t let myself watch a show I like if I haven’t worked out yet. A month of daily exercise could earn you a new waterbottle.
If that’s something you need to do, then do!
Don’t worry about the numbers
If you didn’t notice, the goals that I’m setting for myself don’t have anything to do with losing weight or getting thinner. I would be lying if I said those aren’t things that I want, but they aren’t my main motivation. All of those reasons that we talked about up there are why I exercise.
If you still feel like weighing yourself and taking measurements, by all means, do! But then put those numbers away. Mine are hidden behind my vision board that lives on my corkboard. Just focus on getting the workout done. You’ll notice the changes as they come, but the physical changes might not be the most important. You’ll feel better in a way that I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t started making this a part of my routine
Make a vision board. (You can see my Pinterest board right here!) Join a community, online or in the real world, of other people who are making the same commitment to their health as you are. Keep track of your accomplishments, and remember to be patient when you have to skip a few days, or you aren’t quite strong enough yet.
You’ve got this!
Are you inspired to find a workout routine? I want to hear about it!
Have you learned to love exercising? What helped you change your mind?
Here’s to making 2019 our healthiest year yet!