Ugh! My belly! I'm not eating for a week!
I have no time to workout!
Working out reminds me of how far I need to go to meet my goal.
I have no energy!
I've said all these things throughout the years, out loud or to myself. Sometimes I've said some of them hundreds of times.
First, for some background, here are 5 Crazy things I've done involving workouts:
- Smoke a cigarette immediately after leaving the gym
- Take a nap in the chair in the locker room
- See the locker room as my bathroom, skipping the workout entirely
- Go to the extreme: after an 8 hour day of skiing, did another hour on the stairmaster. Another time I biked 60 miles of intense hills, then went for a 30 minute run. (I wasn't training for a triathalon- just crazy)
- Hating my thighs rubbing against each other on the treadmill and sullenly switching to bike
So you see I've had a complex relationship with working out. ;)
So how can we get to a place where our workout is not the bane of our existence?
The biggest problem with resolutions to workout is that they come from a place of fear. They start with the assumption that we are not good enough as we are.
We are scared to fail.
We are scared that if we don't succeed we won't be desirable.
Scared to feel that uncomfortable feeling of being aware of our suboptimal bodies.
We are scared to be unloved.
Does that seem too dramatic? Here's a friend's example that will illustrate how I come to this conclusion.
Diana: I've got to get back into a workout routine!
Diana: I'm so out of shape. I have to get my body back.
Me: Ok, Why?
Diana: I don't look good and I don't feel good.
Me: What happens if you don't look good?
Diana: My husband may lose interest in me and leave me.
Me: How would that make you feel?
Diana: Alone, unloved, scared.
Me: What happens if you don't feel good?
Diana: I'm afraid I'll stop doing the things I love.
So you can see how fear is at the root of the need to workout.
But there's hope!
What if we change the energy from fear to love?
"I want to love the body I'm in."
"I want to feel strong and able."
"I love myself."
So instead of a furrowed brow and an anxious, "I've gotta go workout" when we are feeling out of shape, what if we had a mantra to say throughout the day?**
We'd hold this to inform all of our choices.
Thinking "I" as we inhale, thinking "love" as we exhale.
As much as we can.
Without a story attached.
No need to think about what we love.
Just those words.
We wake up and think this mantra, "I Love". Would someone who loves themselves and their closest dependents make greasy pancakes and bacon (okay, once in a while) and then decide to go skip the gym and lay around on the couch?
No. Someone who loves themselves wants to be the best version of themselves they can be.
So next time we are contemplating going to the gym, or staring down with angst at our running shoes, instead of mental gymnastics with furrowed brow, we will think "I love" over and over on our breath. Eventually, we will be out the door, running with and towards love, instead of away from fear.
Next week, I will share more ways to let go of fear.
**In yogi speak this is a Sankalpa, an intention or vow, which is very different from a traditional "resolution" as we know it. Sankalpa is broad and comes from the root. Just like we worked back from "I have to workout more" to "I want to be loved", that is the way to find our sankalpa.
Here are the differences:
Resolution: I need to work out more
Sankalpa: I want to feel love
Resolution: we think about it when there is something we feel we need to do
Sankalpa: we think about it periodically throughout the day and it's not always attached to an action