“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
One goal that I come across over and over again is the desire to exercise. On top of that, is the desire to exercise in the morning. You’ve probably heard of the benefits; it boosts your metabolism, it’s a positive way to kick-start the day and it’s less likely that life events will get in the way of you actually doing it (if you don’t count the snooze button).
If you are one of the many people that want to exercise in the AM but that extra hour in bed is all too attractive when morning comes around, you have come to the right place.
I have had a gym membership pretty much throughout my whole 20s and 30s (so far). For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to build the habit of exercising in the morning. Very occasionally, I have succeeded, for about a week. It never stuck. Ever.
This April, I was on a mini trip, when my friend and I were talking about what helps us maintain a happy, balanced life. I shared, that for me, exercise is a must. No exercise leaves me feeling messy. (At this point I was going to the gym about 3 evenings a week and once on the weekend.)
In the same breath, I also shared that exercise was less enjoyable recently. I was finding it would tend to hang over my day like a dark cloud and it was taking over my evenings – which was sucking all the fun (can I say fun?!) out of it.
The two didn’t match up. True to the world of contradictions we live in, something I know is so important for my emotional health was making me feel ‘off’.
Certainly working out in the evening wasn’t making me unhappy, and I know lots of people prefer it, but it just wasn’t contributing to my peace of mind.
Talking to my friend, I contemplated this (for probably a few seconds in reality) and in that very moment, it hit me. If I want to exercise and feel balanced, I HAD to exercise in the morning.
In my mind, this was going to be hard… but I just knew, I had found the solution to my problem.
Since I returned from that holiday, I’ve been regularly exercising in the morning. This is a record for me. I was determined this time, that this goal would stick.
Let’s look at what has helped me to finally be able to exercise in the early hours…
First up, I do believe that we make change when we are truly ready. Sometimes this can come to us as an epiphany. Something inside of us has switched. The change suddenly becomes worth the effort.
I have adopted a few other habits to make this easier which include:
Whilst the practical changes do help make it slightly easier. I really trust that the reason I’ve finally been able establish this new habit is because I sat down with my pen and paper and asked myself these six crucial questions:
When we are trying to enforce change in our lives, weighing up the Pros and Cons is one of the best ways to help you move forward. There is no point in setting a goal to do something, that actually, you don’t care that strongly about. It’s a waste of your time, energy and the guilt you inevitably experience for not meeting your goal.
It’s OK if you answer these questions and decide this is not worth it for you. But if you decide it is, identify what can set you back. This means you can prepare for triggers (and excuses) and be ready to take them down.
We all want to feel good – so think about how achieving this will make you feel. If it is even slightly better than before, then that is good motivation.
Make a plan. You are much more likely to achieve this with a plan. Be as specific as possible (day & time). Once the plan is made, stick to that; don’t wait until the morning to make the decision, because bed will always win in that moment.
One final note – On the mornings where snoozing does won, don’t beat yourself up and then give up completely. Just start again and get back on track.