There is no question that our health is an extremely important subject and should be a priority in our lives. One area where people create a barrier for themselves is the extreme NEGATIVE emotion placed on exercise. For many, exercise has been a miserable experience and often times began as a youth. Some individuals can do things physically with ease while others doing the same activity experience excruciating pain. There are many biological, mental, and physiological reasons for the way we experience pain. If we are struggling with weight issues as a youth, it is obviously harder to do physical activities and participate in sports because of the extra weight, added stress on the joints, muscles, back, and even lungs. If a person who is not struggling with weight issues were to carry 50 pound weights all day and participate in sports or other physical activities he or she would more than likely be miserable too. It would be painful, harder to breathe, uncomfortable in a chair, not much fun doing physical activities with others. They would probably want to give up, as many of us have. Your response to the pain you experienced with physical activities is completely normal. It hurts but as you grow in this endeavor to be healthier and of a lean weight the pain you experience the rest of the time will be reduced. Recognizing that going through a small amount of pain for a few minutes a day with exercise will minimize constant pain and potential large scale handicaps later. Stay focused on the bigger picture.
The time we spent with other youth could be a conditioning factor in our association with exercise. We all have been given different gifts and for some it is the ability to be athletic. Many others do not have this gift but possess countless other abilities. Unfortunately for the ones without the athletic gifts, ridicule and humiliation by class or teammates seems to accompany the inability to participate in fitness activities at a peak level. The individual receiving the humiliation usually associates another negative experience with exercise and fitness, leaving them to hate it. This feeling for many sadly is carried into adulthood.
Given the knowledge that our own self-talk can either sabotage or encourage our health choices, how can you overcome your own self-talk or past negative exercise experiences to become the healthy, happy, and high functioning person you desire and deserve to be? Here are some examples. it helps if you hand-write the answers.
- Even though exercise has been painful for me in the past, I will stay aware that going through 30 minutes of “pain” today with exercise will help me minimize or even eliminate the chronic all day pain of disease and premature aging in the future. I will recognize when I am defeating myself through self-talk and change the conversation that I have with myself to how I can be successful with exercise. I will stay focused on the bigger picture.
- Whenever I begin to focus on the negative experiences of the past that I have had with exercise, I will shift my energy and focus to how I can be successful with my health mission. I will read stories of other people who have overcome large obstacles to achieve big goals. I will talk to my accountability partner about how I try to talk myself out of exercise. I will focus on the strength and high functioning quality of life I will gain because of exercise.
- I will find exercises that I enjoy and play my favorite playlist while doing them. I will keep the music motivational and inspiring while also understanding I am 100% responsible for everything in my life. I will prepare for success!
- I will not make exercise too much of an emotional experience. I will know that it is in my best interest to exercise and I will perform all exercises in a safe and effective manner without overdoing them. I will exercise smart, accept that there is a tolerable amount of discomfort with exercise, and stay resilient with the health mission that I have.
- Given the way I have treated myself over the years, I will stay thankful that I can exercise at all. I will do what I can and intentionally focus on things that I am grateful for while exercising.
- I will look daily at inspirational weight loss stories and remember that anything is possible with determination. I will put materials into my mind that promote the improvement of all aspects of my life and have nonjudgmental people in my life that support and hold me accountable.
I sincerely hopes this helps you to redevelop a positive association with exercise. It is so important to stay strong! Begin as soon as possible. If you need help seek it. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!