What are the things you do in your everyday life that are “automatic”?  Likely, everyday you brush your teeth, put the dishes in the dishwasher (in theory) and put your shoes on your feet. However, while we do these basic things every day, why is it that  it often takes so much effort to habituate our daily exercise?

Take this winter for example; I set a goal to go outside for at least a 20-minute walk everyday, no matter the weather. I thought this would be perfect goal for me because in the past I’ve gone into hibernation mode and have gotten really comfortable there, snuggled in my sweats and blankets waiting for the snow to melt.  

I know it doesn’t seem too difficult, but when the wind chill hit -40, it took some considerable effort to get dressed properly and a load of self-talk to get out the door. Some days, I only made it for 10 minutes; despite not reaching my original goal it was still worth it. Just knowing that I am prioritizing my health, even just a little bit, makes a big difference for me in the way I feel and the way I live my life.

Even now, being on the doorstep of summer, when I wake up and my first thought isn’t about the walk or the work out, it’s about whether or not I really want to get out of bed. I still have to talk myself into getting up and out the door. Once I get moving, I’m good because for me just beginning to exercise makes me feel better.

A great article I read recently was 9 ways to Build Your Inner Strength by Kevin Daum https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/9-ways-to-build-your-inner-strength.html
I thought this article was fitting for me because putting my health at the top of the to do list, like many other people, is something I often struggle with.
This article gets you thinking about you! Something we don’t do when we’re automatic mode. I can tell you for sure, going outside at -40 wasn’t automatic. It was full of thought every step I took to face the weather. Getting out of the automation of life is a great first step to self-care.
If you don’t have time to read the whole article here  are some of the highlights I took away from it.
1-   Ask why? Focus on purpose. This cultivates strength and motivation
2-   Put yourself first. Make your own well being top priority
3-   Train your mental and emotional body as well as your physical self
4-   Decide, commit and act
5-   Don’t let fear factor your decision-making. Don’t reject an opportunity because you’re afraid you can’t do it or something might go wrong
6-   Embrace what scares you. Take that challenge to increase your self confidence
7-   De-clutter your mind. Find a quiet place or try mediation. Turn your brain off for a little while
8-   Become your own best friend. Spend time alone
9-   Practice calm and self control in adversity- Negativity gets you nowhere

For me, getting out and walking first thing in the morning was so many of these recommendations.
Remember to take time this week (day) to focus on you.



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