The speaker at the podium eyed the audience, took a deep breath and then somberly addressed us with these words: “Ladies, if you do only one thing… Keep your commitments to yourself. Do what you say you are going to do. Always!”
All well and good! However, this admonition may not always apply to exercise advice. Here is an example:
A wellness coach related that a client had agreed to increase her exercise level by going to the gym directly after work. The client found this difficult to do. The moment when she needed to turn into the gym parking lot, she drove on home instead.
The coach’s remedy? “Don’t go to the restroom before leaving work. Instead, stop off at the gym to use the facilities. Once there, you might as well exercise, right?” Even so, the client continued to resist stopping at the gym. The coach concluded that non-compliance showed a lack of willpower. Now guilt was added to a complex emotional mix.
Certainly, expert advice and mentoring can be useful in developing an exercise regimen. Yet reliance on shortcuts and tricks to overcome apparent resistance indicates a yellow flashing light. If you’ve been working with me as your coach, you probably can pick out trouble spots in this "hard love" approach to lifestyle change:
When the only way you can get to the gym is by forcing yourself to visit its restroom, what kind of message are you giving your Self? If you are having difficulty following up with an agreed upon plan, perhaps it's not the “right” option for you because it did not come from your heart. Rather than accepting the criticism of being “weak-willed,” can there be a more helpful and loving resolution to your challenge?
Like many women, I’ve listened to those who believed they knew the "best" way to get more exercise. I sometimes ended up agreeing to their advice instead of listening to that inner voice saying, "this doesn't feel right!" When I couldn't keep my commitment, I considered myself a failure, even though the advice failed to honor all of me – body, mind, spirit and emotions.
Attempting to reboot an exercise program can be challenging. Rather than seeing resistance to exercise as a failure, or feeling guilty about it, this can be a wonderful opportunity to make new, more loving choices.
Here are questions to help develop a realistic exercise regimen:
- Are you a full partner in developing a plan to improve your health along with your chosen expert?
- Does the resulting plan honor your values, preferences, and needs?
- Does it make you feel happier? Does it build your self-confidence? Does it refresh your spirit?
I would love to hear how you have discovered your best exercise solution!