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Some people wake up in the morning just bursting full of energy and can’t wait to get out of bed to exercise. Let’s call them unicorns- mythical creatures, with no confirmed sightings in the real world, and possessing magical powers of motivation not known to the rest of us mere mortals.

If you on the other hand (like most of us) struggle to work up the motivation to get up and get moving (then keep going) these mantras might just help.

“One day… or day one. It’s my choice.”

Are you going to wait until the time is right? Or when you happen to feel motivated? How about when you’ve got everything else in your life under control. When things settle down at work. When you’ve got the money to buy a treadmill.

Any of these sounding familiar?

Wouldn’t it be better to make some progress, no matter how small a step it is, today rather than in a month or a year (or never). What can you manage now? A 5 minute walk? Do that. Anything at all today is better than waiting until the timing is just right to get started. Because life is messy, and if you wait for the perfect time to start you’ll be waiting forever.

Inhale confidence, exhale doubt

The fact that you are working out right now means that you’ve achieved more than you did yesterday. That you made a decision, followed through with it, just took that first step means that you are capable of doing it and that you can do it again.

If you were able to make one decision and follow through with it, you have the potential to apply that same capacity to other areas of your life. Like eating healthier foods. Trying out new cooking techniques, new recipes. Changing unhealthy habits.

With every breath that you take you are proving that you are capable of making your own decisions about how you want to live your life. Notice those thoughts of self-doubt as they arise, and then just let them go.

Live with a relentless pursuit of better

Ever heard that for weight loss you should be aiming for an hour every day? Forget that. Start where you are now, and build on it. If you can only manage to walk up and down your hallway three times before becoming exhausted, then do that. Tomorrow see if you can manage four times.

It doesn’t matter how unfit you are now. It matters that each time you exercise you see if you can improve by just a fraction. One extra repetition. One extra minute. Ten seconds quicker than before. That’s the path to real progress.

Brainless exercise is a lost opportunity for improvement

Don’t choose the types of exercise that bore you to tears. Find one that you enjoy, that challenges you to learn, stimulates your mind in some way, or just gives your brain a much needed break from overthinking.

Maybe that means beginners yoga in your living room, where you are learning the correct techniques. It could mean a walk while listening to a podcast where you learn something new. Even listening to music can be an outlet, something that gives you a little time out from life.

The body achieves what the mind believes

We’ve lost count of the number of guests who come to our retreats confident they won’t be able to do most of the exercises. Instead they find that they are capable of so much more than they thought they were.

Much of this comes from having the mindset that if they are there, they might as well try and make the most of it. Mind over matter. Most of the barriers you will experience with exercise are mental, not physical.

Set up your environment to encourage healthy behaviours, get in the right frame of mind, and test the limits you think you have. You might just be surprised by the result!

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