From Here to There: Three Ways to Move from Limited to Limitless
Some girlfriends and I had a tradition of renting a house in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, for a spring get-away. As young moms, we carved out the time for a much-needed break from our usual responsibilities. It was a treat to hike in the mountains, get massages at the main lodge, and do a little pampering. Part of that self-care was exercising, too. I remember one weekend in particular when my friends asked me to lead Body & Soul-style workouts at various points. This was in addition to the aforementioned hiking. When the weekend was over and I went to teach my usual Monday morning class, I remember worrying about whether I’d have the strength and stamina to do so. To my surprise, I didn’t feel weaker or more tired than usual. On the contrary, I actually felt stronger and better!
Of my own accord, I wouldn’t have worked out as much as we did in our cabin in the woods. But my friends kind of hoodwinked me into it. In helping them, I inadvertently helped myself. This got me thinking: what if we could find a way to trick ourselves into moving more? What if we could change our preconceived notions of what we’re capable of? What if, rather than feeling limited by our bodies, we could begin to feel strong and limitless?
Three ideas sprang to my mind. They are tips for shifting our thinking and our routines to make room for moving. They are a way to move from limited to limitless.
- Move on autopilot.I don’t mean the workout, itself, of course. (I often tell my students not to “sleepwalk” through a workout.) I mean, we need to make working out our “default” button. Since initiating exercise is the hardest part, we are going to have to find a way to trick ourselves into incorporating it into our routine, so it becomes automatic like brushing our teeth or stopping at Starbucks. No question about whether it’s going to happen or not.
So, do something new to kind of force yourself into a new pattern. Lay out your workout clothes by the bed, so that when you wake up, the most obvious choice is to put the gear on and work out. Set a specific time to meet your spouse or friend for that post-dinner walk. Join a fitness class (like Body & Soul, of course) and make a date to grab coffee with a friend afterward, so you have to show up, whether you feel like it or not.
Top it all off by using language that reminds you of your own new mindset, e.g. “I work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” instead of “Yeah, I belong to that gym but I hardly ever get there.” All of the above leave you little wiggle-room to squirm out of exercise.
- Walk by faith. Even people who don’t consider themselves “spiritual” can do this. It means acting in accordance with something that you choose to believe. You want to stop seeing yourself as a person who struggles with self-care to seeing yourself as a person who is active and strong. This is faith—believing before the transformation can be observed with the naked eye.
An active person picks activity over sedentary choices. every. time. Choose dancing over a movie, a walk over board games, tennis over a t.v. show. The more consistently you do this, the more you will see yourself as the active, strong person that you truly are, and that vision/belief will become a reality.
- Fan the flames.I was chatting with Grace, a young friend of mine who is on the track team at her high school. She told me that when she is not in a race, she is cheering on her teammates in their events. That gave me an idea. Maybe one way to transition from helpee to helper is to get over ourselves and look to lifting others up. This is when the Biblical principle of “give and it will be given to you” will kick in. In the process of motivating others, you will begin to believe your own hype. Words like “you can do it” and “it’s never too late to join a class” and “I’ll walk with you” and “let’s work out” will motivate you to make better choices yourself.
What do you think? Are you interested in shifting your mindset? Do you believe it’s possible? Can small changes impact your attitude toward fitness and movement? Are you ready to leave behind limits? Do you want to help others get moving too? Let me know. In the meantime, I’m going to go lay out my work out clothes.
Hilda Labrada Gore is the DC metro Regional Director and Director of Communications for Body & Soul. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and at westonaprice.org).
Featured image used by permission from pixabay.com.