Woo hoo! I got a 20 minute workout in this morning!
Doesn’t sound like much?
I am celebrating!
Why? Because I’ve missed my workouts for most of the past two weeks due to a chest cold.
While 20 minutes is less than half of the time than I normally spend, I did what I could do.
And it felt good!
It felt satisfying to get back to regularly moving my body. It felt like progress. It felt fun to focus on wellness.
An interruption to your workout routine is actually a key time to focus on progress not perfection.
Too often you may be disappointed, frustrated, and discouraged because you aren’t where you were or where you expected to be. It can take a few days—or even weeks—to get back up to full speed and intensity if you’ve been sick, injured, or are just under a lot of stress. (Holidays anyone?)
When you focus on what you’ve “lost,” where you “should” be, how “hard” it is, etc., you are actually getting in the way of your comeback. It will be hard because you believe it to be.
In the past, coming back from an illness might very well have sent my workout routine on the skids for months.
I would have focused so much on the negative elements of my recovery that I literally made it 100 times harder to get back into a healthy routine.
Think of it this way. If all you focus on is how much you are dreading your workout, how much you hate exercise, how horrible sweating is, how hard it will be—how likely are you to sustain your workout program?
Pretty quickly, even the idea of working out can be emotionally and physically draining. This is often the beginning of your regaining the weight you have lost—and then some.
When you catch yourself starting that negative thought spiral, STOP!
Instead, celebrate what you can do, rather than what you can’t, what you did, rather than what you should have done, and where you are, rather than where you think you should be.
Shifting your focus to the positive literally generates energy that will help you get back on track more quickly and easily.
I also have the personal experience that exercise relieves stress, and now I use stress as an excuse to workout rather than a reason to avoid it.
When exercise feels like the very last thing you want to do, focus on the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and how much better you’ll feel afterwards.
And when you do the workout and are in that better-feeling place, notice it, focus on it, and celebrate it so that you can remember it the next time you are trying to convince yourself to go workout.
The key to getting back on track is to figure out the minimum that you can do that will make you feel like you’re making progress, and then celebrate doing that. Even a walk around the block has benefits and will help clear your mind, and it’s a lot easier to convince yourself to do than a full-blown workout.
And if you really can’t motivate yourself to get a workout in, forgive yourself and focus on doing what you can do to take care of you.
Together we can do it!