The fitness industry is oversaturated with inspirational quotes and motivational sayings.
“What hurts today makes you stronger tomorrow.”
— Jay Cutler, pro bodybuilder, and four-time Mr. Olympia
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
— Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States
"Rise and grind."
— Every fitness "influencer" on Instagram
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with turning to inspiring quotes for that extra dose of motivation, when it comes to the world of health and wellness, it can
push people in the wrong direction.
We've been led to believe that something as simple as going to the gym is remarkable and deserving of high praise instead of an activity that should be a staple in most people's routine.
Imagine that for three days a week, every week, you had to prove everyone wrong, conquer the world, be braver than you've ever been, or endure immense physical and mental pain.
How long could you keep that up for? How long could you keep up with the idea that being healthy is some extravagant display of self-discipline or incredibly hard to do and make a habit out of?
That's where this mental trick comes into play:
Stop making exercise special.
What if instead of being glamorous and difficult, exercise was an expected staple in everyone's life? What if everyone was able to find a form of physical activity that they enjoyed? What if we found foods that not only tasted great but made us feel great?
What if the habits that came along with being healthy were reasonable, attainable, and enjoyable?
All of these things are possible as long we can come to terms with the fact that being healthy isn't a difficult path, but that being unhealthy is. As a society, we're wrapped up with the idea that being lazy eating junk food is the norm, so those of us that move a little and eat things that make us feel good are stoic warriors who've conquered the mind and body. It's time to shift our perspective on what being healthy means. Here are three tips to get you on the right track:
1. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy.
Lifting weights in the gym isn't the only form of exercise and it's OK if you don't enjoy it. Go for a run, take a class with friends, play a sport, hike, bike, walk, or maybe lift weights. Try them all until you find one that fits best with you. You're more likely to push hard if you enjoy what you're doing.
2. Incorporate simple healthy habits into your routine so they become normalized and a part of your life.
Take a walk every day, make a healthy breakfast every day, do something good for yourself every day. The more often you're able to incorporate things like this into your life, the less daunting they will seem.
3. Stop beating yourself up if you do something "unhealthy".
Things are only healthy or unhealthy because we make them so. You're allowed to sleep in, watch TV, eat ice cream, etc. as long as those habits don't consume you. If you didn't feel like you fell off the wagon every time you committed one of those "irreparable mistakes", you'd have a much easier time preventing them from negatively impacting your life.