If you're like me, exercise is a necessary evil. It's good for my body and overall health, but it can be incredibly painful. I've always been active, but over time I started putting more focus on the pain of running or lifting weights than the benefits of doing those activities! But recently, I've learned a few tricks to hack my brain into loving exercise and making it fun again. Here are three easy steps that have worked wonders for me:
Prepare Tomorrow Tonight
First, you're already doing it! Just by reading this blog, you're preparing your brain to LOVE exercise. You would not be here if healthfulness was not a deep desire of the heart. I know this is a big change, but you can do it. The first thing you will want to do is set up a workout plan. Give yourself at least 6-12 weeks of daily workouts so that you don't have to worry about this for awhile.
Shameless plug—The 100 Days of Discipline makes this really easy—the whole program is stored on the app so you don't have to keep up with a million screenshots or notepad notes with each day's exercise routine.
Exercise first thing in the morning. It's the best way to get your brain into flow state, so if you can do it, I recommend doing it! But if that's not your jam, set a time when you'll work out during the day. This could be in the morning or evening whenever is best for you.
Prepare tomorrow tonight. The night before, lay out the clothes you will wear for your workout and write a list of everything you will need to do to get yourself going for the day. Setting your schedule up this way signals to your brain that exercise is important, and makes it more likely for you to follow through.
Now, pay close attention because this part is the most important part of preparing tomorrow tonight. As you're falling
asleep imagine yourself doing your workout and that you are loving it. Picture your body moving through each exercise while being happy and feeling great. Make sure to remember all the smells, sounds, sights and feelings that come from doing your workout.
It's really hard to make something a habit when we hate doing it, but once we start enjoying something or thinking about doing something a certain way our brains start to open up and we begin making the neural connections needed for creating a new habit. Your brain will also start to associate that activity with the time and place where you have it scheduled.
Connect with Community
The more you connect with others, the more support you'll have when things get tough. You can find an online or in-person community that shares your goals and values, or simply one that shares your interests and struggles (like this one). You will find like minded individuals with similar fitness goals. The community can hold you accountable, so make sure it's a good one! If you're looking for an online community to join, check out our weekly coaching calls. Or you can find communities on facebook, Instagram and other applications like Meet-up!
You'll also be able to find people who are going through similar struggles as you. This is a great way to build up your self-esteem and feel empowered by all of these people who are just as strong as you!
The best part about all of this? You have no reason not to love exercise anymore!
Focus on Your Goals instead of the Pain
Focusing on the reward rather than pain will help you see exercise as a positive experience and not a chore or something to be avoided. Instead of thinking, "Oh no! My workout is starting in 30 minutes, and I don't feel like going," tell yourself that "it's time for you to get active and see what happens when you do. You know why? Because this time next week, I'm going to feel so much better than if I never went at all!"
If you're trying to lose weight and tone up, think about how good it will feel when those pounds start melting off. Or if you're just starting out with a workout program, imagine how much easier it will be after three months have gone by!
If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not this will work out exactly as planned, practice gratitude whenever pain arises. You can prepare a list of all the things that are good about working out (for example: It gives me more energy). Gratitude is the ultimate antidote to fear and doubt.
Brain-hack: Exercise Feels Good!
I hope by now you can recognize how malleable the brain is. It’s like a muscle or the circuit board within a computer. Each has different parts that can be trained to perform certain tasks more efficiently or even differently than others. The point is that we can change how our brains work by practicing specific skills over and over again. This is why learning a language or playing an instrument can be so difficult at first—you have to retrain your brain to think in a different way. But once you learn those new ways of thinking, you’re able to use them for the rest of your life!
We can train our brains to love exercise by giving it positive experiences during the activity itself and then reinforcing those good feelings afterwards—it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is possible!
So there you have it, my 3 easy steps for hacking your brain into loving exercise. I know that this list is not exhaustive, and maybe you have some other tips or tricks that work for you. That's great! Let me know in the comments below if these tricks work for you too!
Just remember to take care of yourself first and foremost, because if we don't make ourselves a priority, then, who will? Exercise can be a powerful tool in our lives—one that makes us feel better about ourselves and more confident in our abilities to tackle whatever comes our way. So let's get moving!
If you would like to see what 100 Days of Discipline is all about, then I encourage you to check out this 7 day free challenge where you get to sample some similar workouts that are included in our paid challenges:
Bye for now,