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If You Hate Exercise, This Will Probably Change Your Mind

If You Hate Exercise, This Will Probably Change Your Mind

Warning: Reading this article may make you start exercising. If you really hate exercise, then you should not risk reading further. If you do hate it, but wish you didn’t, then read on. You may soon feel satisfied with yourself for actually taking care of your body, rather than feeling guilty for not exercising!

Here’s how to tackle each one of your exercise excuses, get into action, and give your body the attention it craves.

1. “I need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to get results.”

Most of us have a number that we think we should “hit” in order to exercise “enough.” For some people, this is the daily recommended minimum of 30 minutes. For others, it’s 45 minutes of weight-training plus another 45 minutes of cardio.

I’m not going to put up a fight with your number here. What I am going to do is challenge your idea of starting with that number right away. You see, even though 30 minutes a day might not seem like a lot, 30 minutes a day for the next 5 years is actually too much for your habitual brain to process.

So yes, everyone can do 30 minutes of daily exercise for one week. But how many people can do that for the next 5 years?

Exactly. Starting small–like really small, maybe 5 minutes or less–has the advantage of bypassing your brain’s fight-or-flight response, the mechanism that make you sabotage yourself when you are trying to do something that seems “big” for too long.

This way, instead of mindlessly starting with an exercise program, you focus on building the habit first, and then once you are exercising a little bit every day, you are ready to expand how much exercise you do.

2. “I don’t want to have to force myself to do it.”

If you have to force yourself to do it, then there is a 90% chance that you are doing it wrong and you will never stick to exercise.

“Buuuut,”you might say, “I have friends who have made that happen.”

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Yes, some people are motivated by challenges and others pushing them. Others hate it.

If you are one of the people who hate it, stop trying to change yourself. And of course, stop treating yourself as if you were one of those people who are motivated by challenges and being pushed. The more you use this approach on yourself, the more you’ll hate exercise and of course, the more you won’t do it!

Instead, change the way you approach exercise. Stop falling into what I call the “Happiness Paradox Trap.” Instead of starting with what you think you “should do,” start with what feels good.

This video from Exercise Bliss, a 10-week course that helps you make exercise a daily ritual, shows you what to do:

3. “I’m not motivated enough.”

We think that motivation is the answer to sticking to exercise. If only we wanted it enough, then we would make it happen.

However, that is not true. Motivation is always there. If you feel you wish you exercised more, then you are motivated to exercise. If you are not doing it, it’s not because you are not motivated. It’s because something stops you.

It might be the activated fight-or-flight response we talked about in #1. For example, when you feel that you have too much to do, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, and you do nothing. Does this ring a bell?

People who have already made exercise a daily ritual, don’t depend on boosting their motivation to get off the couch and exercise. They just do it, naturally, without debating it with themselves, desperately trying to get themselves into action.

Again, motivation is not the real issue here. It’s something else that holds you back. Maybe you think you need to devote 1 hour and you don’t know how to do that. Or, maybe you think you need to suffer to get results. Whatever the real reason is, find it. Only then will you be able to figure out a way to remove the obstacle that is on your way.

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4. “I don’t need exercise. I only want to lose weight.”

Many people just care about their weight, nothing else. Yet, our bodies are naturally wired to feel good when we move. Here is a quick list of the benefits of exercise:

  • Decreases the risk of various diseases and bad health conditions, like high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases.
  • Increases longevity. According to a Taiwanese study, just 15 minutes of daily exercise prolong life by three years. Not bad, huh?
  • Improves mood. Exercise does not just help depressed people, it helps everyone. A quick workout or walk stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
  • Increases your energy levels. Regular physical activity boosts your endurance, and helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently. And yes, that means more energy available for you. It seems that if you feel “too tired” to exercise, then you must exercise!
  • Improves sleep. Yes, regular physical activity can help you sleep better and fall asleep more easily, as long as you don’t exercise a couple of hours prior to bedtime.
  • Improves sex life. Erectile dysfunction? Lack of libido? Just lack of energy? Exercise may help with all of that.
  • Helps you better control your weight. Exercise helps you burn calories, plus you build muscle that generally burns more calories than fat. Exercise is a great add-on to a diet, or weight maintenance plan.
  • Gets you better lab results, even if you are fat. Did you know that an obese person who is fit, i.e., exercises regularly, will show better lab results than a thin person who never exercises? That’s right. The weight does matter. But fitness matters even more.

Do you still think that exercise won’t help you?

5. “I need ‘all my ducks in a row’ before I start thinking about exercise.”

Maybe you are currently busy. Or, you are planning a trip next week. Or, your child just got sick. Shouldn’t you just wait until you can give exercise 100% of your attention?

This rationale once again sounds plausible, but just like the “I don’t have time” excuse, is it really true? Is not starting because you are not “ready,” the best thing for you right now? Is neglecting yourself and your body for a few more weeks/months/years a good strategy?

Finally, how many months or years will you spend before you get “all your ducks in a row?”

6. “I find exercise boring.”

I feel for you. Sometimes I find it boring too. Especially when I attend fitness classes that last for an hour or an hour and a half. Yet, is really moving your body for 5-10 minutes boring?

I could go on and say to find something that you actually like. Yet I know that for most people, exercise itself is rarely the issue. Having to do it for “too long” is the issue.

That’s why I said that if 30 minutes are boring, try 5 or 10.

Now if this idea of starting small stresses you out, let me remind you the wisdom of tip #1–the fact that you may want to be exercising one hour daily, doesn’t mean you have to start from one hour right away! You can start small, and as you feel more and more comfortable build your way up!

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7. “I have negative past experiences.”

I understand that you came last at the sprint race when you were at school. I understand that you may feel embarrassed when you attend fitness classes. Luckily, your past does not need to define your future.

A client of mine wanted to start jogging. She started by walking around the neighborhood. Yet, she found out she felt really uncomfortable feeling that her neighbors were watching her.

She accepted that, and worked her way around it. Instead of walking around her own block, she walked around the block next to her own block. Ta-da! Problem solved. A few months later she was already jogging 2 miles a couple of time a week.

8. “I dislike the whole package of exercise, but not exercise itself.”

If you think you need to exercise for an hour, take a shower, and drive to the gym and back, then you have two hours gone, just like that.

You might like moving your body, but you certainly don’t like having to spend all this time working out! Who could blame you?

Luckily, exercise that gets you results doesn’t have to take all this time and scheduling brainpower.

1. Do something that takes less time – e.g., exercise at home.

2. Automate. For example, if you go to the gym after work, make sure your gym is bag is ready from the day before, so you don’t have to deal with that as well during your busy morning.

9. “I don’t have enough time to exercise.”

I love this one. Even though we know people busier than us, who actually exercise, we keep saying “we are busy.”

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Have you ever thought that being “busy” is actually a lie? If there are busier people than you who make it happen, then so could you. Yet even though we acknowledge that, we still believe that yes, “we are too busy to exercise”.

What is even better is that the people around us also believe us. You see, they too use the “I don’t have time” excuse. Maybe not for exercise. They may do with cleaning, de-cluttering, or something else. If they spoil it for you, then you will be able to spoil it for them.

So admit that time is not an issue. It’s probably something else. Maybe you don’t like it. Maybe you are afraid you’ll have to give up something else in favor of exercise. Whatever the real reason, you need to find it if you want to give your body a chance to thrive!:)

10. “I have so much to do, and exercise will have to take time from things I don’t want to give up.”

Now you might indeed be worried that exercise will take too much of your time. Time that you are not sure you should “sacrifice” in order to take care of your body.

Well, here is what seasoned author Susan Miller of Astrology Zone said about this:

hate exercise

    And before I go, let me tell you this.

    You are not helpless. If not taking care of your body makes you feel guilty, then know that you can change that. You can become one of those people who exercise regularly and like it. There’s even a course that teaches that.

    I believe in you.

    Now make a strategic exercise plan and remember: you don’t have to start with something big. Instead start with what feels good. That’s the best recipe for success!

    More by this author

    Maria Brilaki

    Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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