Friday, January 4, 2013

Be your Best Self! Part I: Exercise

The new year is here! And with that new year, is a new chance to create the person that you want to be - YOUR BEST SELF! In the next few posts I want to share some tips to help you become your best self. Now stick with me here. I'm a Mom and I know how hard it can be to take time for yourself. But in the last few years I've discovered that a healthy family needs a healthy and a happy Mom. And if the Mom is not healthy and happy, then the family is not healthy and happy. It's just how it is. With that being said, let's not fly to the extreme of self-indulgence or self-absorption. Keep the balance. That's why I say, we need to become our BEST SELF. Whoever that person is.

Our family loves to go biking together. This picture was taken on one of our favorite biking trails this past fall.

Tip # 1 to becoming your best self is exercise.  I'm not a carb-counting, diet-restricting, scale-bemoaning type of person. This isn't about losing weight. This is about feeling good about yourself. And when you exercise, you feel good. You've accomplished something. You've pushed yourself. You've met a goal. And you feel good all day.

Exercise is critical in becoming our best self, but it doesn't have to be that time and money sink that it sometimes turns into. So before you jump up right now and purchase a tread-mill or gym membership or whatever it is, read the ideas below and my post on frugal exercise ideas. Making exercise a part of your every day life is more effective than just paying some money and hoping it will change you...

  1. Exercise with someone else. At least some of the time. It really helps motivate you to do it. And it's more fun because you can talk. And we all like to talk, don't we? If you don't have an adult person to exercise with then exercise with your kids. Dance around the house, play tag, catch or tackle football (my youngest son's favorite right now). 
  2. Don't be afraid to try new things. I never used to like running. In fact I dreaded it and strongly DISLIKED it. Last year I had a friend mention that she was looking for a running partner so I decided to give it a try. I can't say that now I'm a marathon runner or anything. To be honest I still don't LOVE it...But I've stuck with running 2 or 3 days a week for the last 15 months or so because I like how I feel after doing it. It pushes me to a new level and I feel great the rest of the day. I'm not saying that's what will work for you. Running might not be your thing. And in a month or 3 years or whenever it might not be mine either. But don't be afraid to try new types of exercise even if you didn't use to like it.
  3. Set exercise goals. In 2012 I set a goal to finish a 5k race. I had never run in one before...but in November I did! And I finished! It felt good to reach that goal. Exercise goals help motivate you and keep you working towards something.
  4. Keep a good variety in your exercise. Don't do the same thing every day. It gets boring. And after a while it loses it's effectiveness. I got to a point a few months ago where my exercise routine was dull. I was tired of it and really not enjoying it. It took me a little bit of time to research, but I found some new cardio and strength training exercise videos online that could help spice up my workouts a little and that really helped. And it's helped me to enjoy exercising again.
  5. If possible, set a specific time to exercise regularly. This has really helped me make sure exercise happens regularly in my life. Most days I try to exercise before the kids get  up. I've found that if I don't get exercise in the first part of my day, it often won't happen at all...
  6. Along with the scheduled exercise, include plenty of other movement in your day. Make a walk part of the adventure - going to the post office, to school or church, the park or even the store if you live close enough. Ride bikes to the library or to a friends house. Walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator. Park purposefully farther away so you have to walk farther. All of this will take planning to accomplish successfully and a little bit more extra time, but it's worth it to cultivate healthy exercise habits into your life.
Exercise doesn't have to cost money or take up a lot of extra time. You can do it as a family, while you're playing with your kids, while you are getting chores done around the house, or while you are out running errands. With a little adjustment you can cultivate exercise habits into your everyday life and those habits will help you to become your best self.

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you luck in becoming your best self in 2013. I'd love to hear your ideas! What works/doesn't work for you? What exercise goals have you set for 2013? 

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