23 Jan 5 truths I’ve learned after one full year dedicated to exercise
Do you love the beginning of the year as much as I do? It’s a fresh start to conquer those dreams however big or small. This time last year I decided exercise would be my priority for 2019. I didn’t have a specific resolution but I knew I had to embrace a more active lifestyle.
There were a lot of reasons for my decision. I was turning 40 and I wanted to feel better in my body. I had started my own business and was embarrassed to show up because of my size. As a mom, I wanted to be a better role model for my son so he didn’t learn poor health behaviours from me and of course, I wanted to live a long and healthy life – and I still do!
Perhaps we share some of these desires or maybe you have a few others of your own. Whatever your motivation, I want to share today the 5 truths I’ve learned after one full year dedicated to exercise.
Truth No. 1 – Doing nothing will always be the easier choice
Showing up for yourself, getting to the gym and moving your body requires action. It will always be the harder decision whether you’ve been exercising for a week or ten years.
Remember back to high school physics? Going from a state of stillness to one of motion requires a force, such as a push or a pull, to overcome any resistance and get into motion. It’s easier to stay motionless.
I still need to make a conscious decision every day to show up and some days I lose ambition. But more often than not, I make a disciplined choice and feel all the better for it. Once you start to notice results, use this momentum to carry your resolve forward.
Truth No. 2 – Change doesn’t happen quickly
Speaking of results, the typical change we hear about in the health & fitness industry does not happen quickly. When we see success, it’s often the big weight loss stories or major physical accomplishments like finishing a triathlon or an Ironman. Success like this does not happen overnight. It is often years in the making.
So what does a one-month success look like? Well, for me, I was sleeping better and I had more energy. Instead of being sore for 3 days after working out, I was recovering after 2 days (well, most of the time)!
How about a 3-month success? Maybe you can hold a plank for an extra 10 to 20 seconds or you’ve progressed to a higher level of an exercise. Or maybe you can make it to the top of the stairs without losing your breath. We are all starting from a different place so wherever you are on your journey and whatever your successes are, please celebrate them and keep going!
Truth No. 3 – Tiny changes add up so focus on small habits every day
Those successes we were just talking about? There will be more and more small wins along the way and they will add up! Tiny daily habits done consistently over time will lead to self-improvement. This idea is the basis of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Each and every burpee, pushup, squat and bicep curl accumulate just like compound interest. That one extra lunge may not seem like much in your day, but over time it’s the combination of their parts that result in remarkable things! Give yourself time and grace – you will reach your goals by taking tiny steps forward every day.
Truth No. 4 – Action creates more motivation & inspiration
“Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it” – Mark Manson
It’s your action that creates motivation & inspiration, not the other way around! Yes, there needs to be an initial desire but once you give that spark life and take your first movements, you’ll be amazed at how it motivates you to keep going.
When I decided to make exercise my priority in 2019, little did I know the impact it would have on all the other areas of my life. When you start your day with exercise, you start your day with a powerful momentum that carries you through all the other hard stuff.
Last April, my business was failing and I was so close to giving up. But through it all, I kept exercising and doing everything I needed to turn things around in my work. I firmly believe exercise is what got me here and helped me find a way to succeed.
This leads me to the last thing I learned to be precisely true about exercise in 2019.
Truth No. 5 – “Movement is Magic”
I love this quote from Marie Forleo and I firmly believe it. When you move your body, you change your biochemistry. I see a naturopath every few months and on every visit, we look at a sample of my blood under her microscope. We talk about the shapes of my blood cells, if they are clumped together or not and if there is any acidic mesh hanging out in my bloodstream. There is always some room for improvement.
But after just a few months of regular exercise, I saw the impact of my new exercise habit at the cellular level. My blood cells looked perfectly healthy and I was feeling amazingly happy. Exercise changes everything from the health of your blood cells to your state of mind and that truly is a gift. Imagine how you’ll feel after one full year dedicated to exercise!
And so I want to wrap this up and leave you with one last thing:
If you have big dreams for the next month, the coming year or even this new decade, make the harder choice and choose action. Be patient by taking tiny steps each day and give yourself time. All the small acts will add up, creating more motivation to keep going, until you find your own magic.
Thanks for reading, 5 Truths I learned after one full year dedicated to exercise. Read my other post about Better Fitness At 40!