How to Stay Motivated to Exercise (All Year Long)

how to stay motivated to exercise

(all year long)

 
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I can’t deny it. I’m definitely an avid gym-goer. I hit the gym about 5 times per week to lift weights, and on my off days you can catch me at ecstatic dance, in a Vinyasa yoga class, or walking around the city of San Francisco (and by walking, I mean hiking… the hills are basically like the stairmaster).

The Vata in me looooveees to keep my body moving. And it’s honestly hard for me to just chill on the couch all day.

However, this does not mean that I’m motivated to exercise everyday. (I’m still human!)

There are definitely days where going to the gym is the last thing I want to do.

But, thankfully I have figured out multiple ways to keep myself motivated to exercise and staying on track with my fitness goals, even when my mind is trying to convince me otherwise.

1. Don’t focus on the physical.

When I first started exercising, my entire intention was to get abs. So shallow, I know.

It’s not wrong to set an intention related to transforming your body, like losing five pounds or adding more muscle to your frame. But having an intention that penetrates deep beneath the surface, such as “cultivate more self-love” or “increase my willpower” or “develop gratitude for my body”, is far more effective.

Why?

Because physical results are just the byproduct of an effective intention for true transformation. The six-pack is really just the icing on the cake (the cake you are eating in moderation).

The effect exercise has on your mental state far exceeds any change in your body shape. Exercise can build stronger resilience that extends into all facets of life.

Exercise can deepen the connection you have to your body on a level you aren’t even aware of right now. Exercise can teach you gratitude and respect for your physical body, and how fortunate you are to have been given a physical form that allows your soul to experience this reality. Exercise can allow you the opportunity to release the mind, and let go of any feelings of anxiety, stress, or depressive thoughts. Exercise can grant you access to a different layer of consciousness that expand your mind and elevates your soul.

The true benefits of exercise exist beneath the surface, beneath the fucking six-pack abs.

2. Commit to following an exercise plan for just 21 days.

When you think about it, your life is really just a series of habits. We are what we repeatedly do.

While we like to think that our conscious self is in control of everything, it’s actually our subconscious that is doing all of the decision making for us. The subconscious mind is your mental operating system, and it has the power to alter your mental and physical states without you even realizing it. All of our habits, routines, and instinctive behaviors occur without conscious thought or intention. They just happen.

If you really want to become motivated to exercise, you have to learn how to bring your subconscious mind in sync with your conscious mind. You have to “reprogram” your mind from being stuck on “go to work, then relax on the couch all evening” to “wake up, hit the gym, have an amazing day at work”. You have to make the conscious choice to alter your behavior by going to the gym, or following an exercise plan repeatedly, to then instill into the subconscious that you are motivated to exercise and you will hit the gym for your workout.

Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So, commit to following a workout plan for 21 days and give yourself full permission to quit on day 22.

(Spoiler alert: You won’t end up quitting.)

3. Meditate after your workout.

I know what you are thinking.

“I can hardly find the motivation or time to exercise. Now, you’re telling me to meditation too?”

I cannot stress how important it is to release the mind at some point during your day. The mind is the only thing stopping you from stepping into your true power and living the life you are meant for. It is not your body or your soul that is convincing you that you don’t have enough motivation or willpower to hit the gym regularly. It is your mind that is perpetuating your self-limiting beliefs. The mind is the root of self-sabotage.

If you can release your mind, and instead feel into what your body and soul are communicating to you, your potential is limitless.

And with that, having the motivation to exercise will be effortless. Your soul came to this reality to experience, and it experiences life through the movement of the physical body.

When you are in a meditative state, you are free from the mind. You enter a space that is the space between your thoughts. You can even drift out of the physical body, leaving the ego behind, where all that is, is your soul.

When you exercise, you are moving energy through both the physical and subtle bodies. You are moving in the literal sense, lifting weights, running with your legs. At the same time, you are circulating “prana” (life force energy) through the subtle energetic bodies, known as the chakras. When you have awareness for the imbalances and blockages of the chakras, you can use exercise as a means of opening up the chakras, and allowing prana to move through the channel.

By meditating after exercise, you are focusing the free flowing energy upwards to the third eye center or the crown chakra. This makes for an extremely powerful meditative experience, helping you reach higher levels of consciousness by freeing the mind and expanding out of the physical body.

Next time, after your workout, sit down and meditate for 11 minutes. Trust me, you are going to look forward to those 11 minutes post-workout every single day.

4. Write down how you feel after exercising.

I would recommend doing this technique after your post-workout meditation, but you can do it regardless of meditating or not.

About 30 minutes to 1 hour after your workout, grab your journal or your phone and write/type, how you feel after exercising. And go deep. Beyond the physical.

Do you feel like you just overcame a massive obstacle that was existing in your mind and keeping you limited in your potential?

Did you finally release pent up anger or resentment towards someone in your life, that was blocking you from receiving and giving love?

Did you feel sensations in your body that made you feel more alive, than ever before?

Do you feel more energized, clear headed, and ready to take on the rest of your day with a positive mindset?


Let me just brace you for what will come...Your post-workout self-reflections won’t always be so uplifting and positive. There may be days where your reflection will be something more like “I’m fucking exhausted, physically and mentally”, or “I’m not making progress. It doesn't matter how hard I try. I’m just never good enough”.

Kinda dark, huh?

You may be shocked by how much clarity and self-awareness comes to the surface after a workout. Emotions, feelings, beliefs, that you didn’t even know existed within you will come out of nowhere. You may be holding a lot of dark energy that you aren’t even consciously aware of.

It is the movement of the physical body that becomes the catalyst for raising your consciousness, allowing you to unblock closed chakras and heal yourself from the inside out.

I can’t tell you how many self-realizations and “downloads” I have had after intense workouts. One of the most impactful being during a long run through San Francisco. My heart chakra blew wide open, and I released all resentment and pent up anger I had towards my father. I finally realized that I had to forgive him, in order to stop being a victim of my past circumstances and to allow myself to be fully deserving of love from another human being. After that run, my life changed forever (read more about this experience here).

Working out can be a therapy session, except your body is the therapist initiating the awareness building, while your soul answers all of the questions with nothing but the truth.

This is where you are given the opportunity to sync your subconscious (what is surfacing through your reflection), with your conscious (awareness). You can use that awareness to facilitate behavior change, which could be hitting the gym consistently, or making huge shifts in your life that will propel you towards becoming your highest self.

5. Follow a workout plan that is designed for your mind-body type.

Most fitness plans you find online are suuuper cookie cutter. They assume that everyone’s body is the same. These plans don’t at all account for individual differences, like body type/shape, initial weight, metabolism, caloric needs, training history and training potential, genetics… the list can go on.

Aside from the physical aspects, these plans definitely don’t account for the differences of the mind. Everyone is operating in a varied mental state, with natural tendencies for feelings and emotions, all which can dramatically impact your health and well-being from a holistic standpoint.

In Ayurveda, the longest standing health system in the world, it is believed that each of us have a unique mind-body type, or “dosha”. The doshas are subtle (non-physical) energy bodies that consist of a combination of the five elements that make up all of existence (Water, Fire, Earth, Space/Ether, Air). While each of us have all three doshas, one or two doshas dominant our being. Each dosha is related to certain physical and mental characteristics that influence, and can be influenced by, the various factors of life, including exercise.

Depending on your dosha, certain forms of exercise are recommended to help balance your body and mind. For instance, if you’re a Vata-Pitta like me, you may be drawn to high intensity, fast moving exercise like running or lifting weights. Now if you’re a Kapha, you may prefer just relaxing on the couch or maybe going for a brisk walk if you feel slightly motivated to move.

If you workout in relation to your dosha, having the motivation to exercise will be sooo much easier because you will be in balance.


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