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Here’s an oldie but goodie that I thought I would re-post because it’s something that causes people frustration all the time. I know that it can be hard to determine sometimes whether or not you’re making excuses to get out of working out or whether your excuse is valid! I also added a new tip that I’ve been using on myself over the last few months with great success! Enjoy!

Originally published on August 4, 2011

I skipped my run on Friday morning. I knew I was skipping it when I turned the alarm off three times and told myself that I’d hop on the elliptical on Saturday, instead.

Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but when you take into account that I skipped both of my usual yoga sessions as well as a circuit training session last week leaving me with only one day in which I worked out, you see there was a bit of an issue.

When I decided to quit my old job and coach full time I created a new morning routine: I would wake up at 6:30am (same as usual), have a light pre-workout snack and then meditate for 30 minutes while the snack settled and then I would work out. This assured me that I would start my day doing two things that benefit me, mind and body. But what I didn’t take into consideration was how my body was going to adjust to the new routine. I thought that because I was waking up at the same time I always did my body wouldn’t notice the difference. Boy was I wrong! For the first two weeks I was working from home I woke up several times throughout the night and even now, over a month in I’m not always sleeping through the night. This caused my cool new morning routine to sometimes get shoved aside for extra sleep which also meant that I’d skip my workouts a few times. For the first two weeks I didn’t care, once I realized that my body did actually have to adjust, I just paid attention to what it needed but I said that after two weeks I needed to put my foot down and get into a routine.

Well, it’s been over a month now and that routine is not quite set yet. One side of me recognizes that it’s only been about a month and it could take a while for my body to adjust to this new routine when it was used to a completely different routine for well over four years. The other side, however, also knows that for me to make this a consistent routine I need to put in a solid effort for about two months to make it stick.

So this begs the question: How do we know when to be firm with ourselves and when to relax?

I see it on message boards all the time. People who are struggling with creating a new habit and the comments they receive range from “Don’t beat yourself up over it, it takes time”, to “Okay girl, I’m here to give you a swift kick in the arse! Just get out there and get it done!”.

How To Know When To Relax And When To Kick Yourself In The Butt (In No Particular Order)

  • Look at the situation in context. If I looked at last week in general I could kick myself in the butt as I didn’t work out much at all last week but if I take the entire month into consideration I know it’s only been a month and we never can tell when our body’s will get used to new changes. Also within the last month I have made the effort to create this new routine. Yes it may not be every day but I’ve started the process and that’s important to note. New routines are not made over night and I’m creating a huge new change.
  • Are you using the new routine as an excuse to not do it (because it’s new)? On Friday, I’ll admit, I used the fact that I was still adjusting as an excuse to not run. If you look deep within yourself, you know when you’re just making an excuse. This is when you need to give yourself a swift kick in the butt!
  • Did you just start this new routine? If you only started five days ago then just relax and be kind to yourself (unless you use it to create the excuse not to do it, see above point). Like I said, it could take up to two months before something becomes a habit and no one’s perfect. Sometimes we literally just forget in the early days so you may want to post some sticky notes where you’ll see them but if you do slip up, no worries, just keep at it!
  • Have you been doing this routine for a long time and this is the first time you’ve slipped up? Don’t worry about it! It happens to the best of us and sometimes we need a break.
  • Are you stressed out about something else? Sometimes the effects of stressors trickle down to other areas of our lives and this can be tricky. If it’s a major stress, be good to yourself because you don’t want to add to the stress but if it’s just a frustration (like work frustration), give yourself a kick in the butt because it’ll make you feel good about yourself and you’ll feel more in control of other areas of your life.
  • Do you not feel like doing it or do you not WANT to do it? There’s a difference between feeling like not working out and not wanting to work out. Most often you don’t feel like doing it but you want the outcome! In these cases, get off the couch! But if you find that you don’t want the outcome at that moment, go ahead and stay put. Just remember that you’ll never regret working out but you’ll almost regret NOT working out!

Most likely I shot myself in the foot when I created a totally new morning routine. I haven’t meditated regularly in a few years and although I work out regularly, I’m not used to doing it in the morning yet. I need a swift kick in the arse in regards to my workouts but I can definitely (and should be) kind to myself about working in my meditation. Perhaps a new schedule should include just getting in my workouts for the first month or two and then work in meditation!

Photo Credit: The World is Big

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