You probably live a busy life. Me too. Upon hearing the word “exercise,” many of us begin to repeat our mantra of excuses:
I’m too lazy for that life. I just don’t have time to take out of my schedule to exercise (Ain’t nobody got time for that). I love eating food way too much (#bobaismydiet).
The list goes on and on.
I’m not here to preach that we should all become health freaks. But I am here to share the amazing things I’ve learned from adopting exercise as a lifestyle. Exercise isn’t always about health–it’s a test–one that even if you might think you “fail” at, teaches you to improve your determination every step of the way.
The Big Question
We naturally make decisions after a quick cost-benefit analysis. Often times, we only dwell on the end product, the destination of our endeavors–for the common new year’s resolutions of exercise, this usually means “getting swole” or attaining a beach body.
While focusing on the tangible goals of whether to go healthy or get fit is a fantastic way to get started, the main question we usually ask ourselves before doing anything is “Is it worth it?”
Exercise is often seen as a goal, but it is not simply the means to reach a number on a scale. Exercise is not just a goal. It is a long-term investment for your life, mindset, and motivations.
The journey of exercising is just as, if not more, important than the destination itself.
Here are five ways that exercise provides life motivation that learned from my own struggle of maintaining an exercise lifestyle. Hopefully I’ll save you some time from learning the hard way.
1. Exercise teaches you mind over matter.
You hold yourself responsible for deciding what you can and cannot do everyday. Exercise is one activity that many of us prematurely discount and excuse ourselves from because of its perceived cost–you actually have to try to exercise.
Why would we want to put ourselves through extra work when we already have jobs, school, relationships, and more to worry about?
From my struggles with motivation, I’ve learned that exercise strengthens my mind more than it does my body – it makes me question how much further I’m willing to push myself.
Will I push for two more minutes on the treadmill? Will I sprint for five more seconds?
2. Exercise teaches you commitment.
Consider that only 8% of people will achieve their new years resolutions. Commitment is difficult.
Having a daily goal and creating habits is one of the most important lessons to learn. Although it is more difficult to cultivate good habits than bad ones, once you maintain commitment for a couple days, exercise becomes easily incorporated into a daily schedule.
If the word “commitment” seems boring – try seriously taking on a goal first. You may find yourself itching to do more and further your progress past just that one goal.
3. Exercise gives you something to look forward to.
Exercise may even become an activity you look forward to in the morning or after a long day (it’s a great stress reliever!).
Knowing that you have a productive hobby will give you more energy as you go about your daily schedule. Adding new, tangible and measurable goals like running 10 more minutes will keep you revitalized to set new goals.
4. Exercise improves self-esteem.
Exercise creates a positive feedback loop for your self-image. Studies have shown that exercise improves how people felt about their bodies–even if they didn’t lose weight or achieve noticeable improvements (see this amazing list of happy people’s habits!)
Exercise helps you appreciate your body more whether or not you are working toward a goal. It just means we’re investing in ourselves, and it makes us feel good.
5. Need this even be said? It’s simply great for you.
Even if you don’t have a goal related to health, exercise will remind you how fun it is to challenge yourself, practice self-discipline, and commit to something for your benefit. You can rely on exercise as one of the greatest picker-uppers for life–you’ll feel great and look good doing it.
Next time you make an excuse to you friend for passing up on a trip to the gym, think again–exercise is not all about a seasonal goal.
Exercise is a lifestyle. Go ahead, live it.
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