Looking to Build a Lifelong Fitness Habit? Bring on your HAPPY!
"No Pain No Gain", Death by Burpee, Insanity, Boot Camp,
Extreme Lean, Body Shredder, Tribal Warrior, Tough Mudder....
Can you get fit with programs like these?
But do you think HAPPY when you picture yourself doing them?
If you do, more power to you. You have intensity and
drive and like to be pushed to your limit.
But what if the idea of regular exercise is already a bit daunting?
What if the above training programs conjure up images of pain, discomfort, sweating profusely and grunting.
Will that help get you up and out?
Don't Worry. Be HAPPY!
Here's How to Make Working Out Work for You!
We humans are designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. That is both normal and natural. That means that if you are trying to create a new exercise habit, the best way to do that is by choosing activities that youenjoy in the moment. To increase your ROI and improve consistency, choose a fitness activity that serves more than one happiness need. Choose a form of exercise that also gives you social time, quiet time, outdoor time, creative space, a musical outlet, increased mindfulness, or a little friendly competition.
Right after your activity session, check in with yourself. How does your body feel? How is your mood? Would you like to feel more or less of what you feel right now? If the answer is 'more', how can you make that happen? If the answer is 'less', what would make it better?
Match your exercise choice to your personality. People sometimes choose fitness modalities that conflict with their interests, style, personality and/or reasons for exercising in the first place.
Block out all the media noise and social hype and choose what
works for you! For example, one study showed that CrossFit participants had high intrinsic motivation and enjoy being
around people when they workout. Strength training fans were motivated by a sense of challenge. And (us!) introverts love long-distance running. Again, it's the idea of accomplishing more
than just physical training in your exercise sessions.
Exercise can literally make you happier.
Since exercise affects the same neurochemicals as prescription medications do, multiple studies have compared the effects
of exercise with those of medications on people with clinical depression. The most recent comprehensive literature review
found that exercise is as effective as medications or therapy, but not more so (Cooney et al. 2013).
Fulfilling 'YOU' time activity + movement that feels good to your body = recipe for a happy fitness habit!
The Happy Mind!
Three exercises to improve your mental fitness
Get familiar with your stories. Know what stories you tell yourself and recognize them as stories. When something happens that brings up difficult feelings, listen to the story you tell yourself about the situation. Brené Brown calls this your SFD, or "sucky first draft." Then, without judgment or analysis, look at what pieces are facts and what are assumptions and personal lore.
Flip the story. Once we recognize we are telling a story, it is helpful to "flip" the story. That means to listen carefully to our habitual language, and then tell ourselves the exact opposite. For example, if our story is, "I can't stick to a plan," we could flip it to, "I am consistent when things are important to me ." Another example: "I am worthless" can become "I am precious."
Pause When You Notice Yourself Being Negative. When the tape starts playing the negative story in your mind, pause and ask yourself, "Is this how I want to feel?" If your answer is no, you now get to decide how you do want to feel and align your thoughts and actions to create the feeling state you most desire. Choose a new perspective that brings joy into your life. Own your power to choose.