We all have good or bad habits and routines, most of which we learned as children: brushing our teeth twice a day, washing our hands after using the restroom, grooming ourselves before going to work or school, etc. Our parents stressed the importance of having a routine (whether it was for their sanity or for our benefit) and these routines follow into our adult lives.
One thing that my parents made a point of was encouraging me to participate in school sports. I played all the traditional sports through high school and continued to play basketball and compete in track through my college years. With my parents’ leadership and support – driving me around EVERYWHERE to practices and games, attending games regularly, and just being involved with the team – I learned a few things: One, that exercise is an important part of life; two, to commit to something even if I didn’t want to; and three, working as a team… being involved with people.
I feel fortunate to have always had fitness as a regular routine. Well good news: It’s not too late to make activity part of YOUR daily routine, as well as part of your families’ routine. It takes a little over 60 days for an activity or thought to become a habit. As children, we had over 18 years (under our parents’ house and rules) to learn to brush our teeth, eat a variety of foods, groom ourselves . . . so, we don’t have to think consciously about doing these activities as adults, because they have just become “what we do!”
Here are five steps to help make exercise as routine:
- Do a variety of activities: lift weights, walk, run, play tennis, swim, etc. You don’t have to join a gym to start getting fit. Throwing your credit card down for a gym membership doesn’t help you loose weight. It’s the moving… the activity that builds a more fit body. The gym is just a building. You can MOVE anywhere!!!!!
- Commit to another person. It’s easy to brush yourself off if you only hold yourself accountable to YOU! However, if you hold yourself accountable to another person, it makes it a little more challenging to ‘not show up’ for your scheduled exercise session.
- Make exercise a priority. I hear from a lot of people, especially mothers, “I just don’t have time!” MAKE TIME. You should be #1 in your life. If you feel healthy and energetic (which you will if you exercise), this will transform to all of your mommy activities and EVERY relationship you have. You will be a better person.
- Exercise first thing in the morning. It’s taken me six years to get used to waking up at 5:15 a.m. to coach a crossfit class. What got me through the six years of torture… commitment to myself, my family (pay the bills) and my athletes. All of my athletes shuffle their way through the door with sleep still in their eyes, but the second they are finished with their workout, they are ready to take on the day with uplifted, energetic spirits.
- Reward yourself! No, not with five scoops of cookie dough ice cream. Set a goal and choose a reward that celebrates the goal. Life would be boring and so monotonous if we didn’t set goals. “What is your purpose in life if you don’t set goals and work towards achieving them?” – Heather
We are all queens… we all deserve to look and feel good. Take time out of your day to focus on YOU. You’re worth it… Here is my challenge for you: For 60 days, think of yourself as a queen, a mommy diva, the most talented athlete in the world… commit to yourself and one other person to make an activity part of your daily routine. Log this activity for 60 days… I feel confident that if you do this, you will find that your daily dose of exercise/activity will be as easy as remembering to brush your teeth!
If you have any questions or would like some fitness consultation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Live and Love Life”
Heather Herbeck is a whitewater kayaker with Girls4Sport who lives in BZ Corner, Washington, in the Columbia River Gorge. She teaches whitewater kayaking on the White Salmon River. She’s also a personal trainer and aerobics instructor.