The change of season often brings with it a desire for personal change: an updated wardrobe, the start of a new hobby, or perhaps a desire to live a little healthier. A desire for change offers the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself.
A personal challenge doesn’t always have to be a monumental task, like rebuilding the garage or baking a multi-tiered cake. Challenges are meant to push you a little, learn new things and perhaps discover a hidden talent. Some challenges require a little honesty.
Your challenge, should you accept it, is to remind yourself to exercise for the right reasons.
Adding a little exercise to your routine is a good thing so how is this a challenge? Pinterest has always been a great source of inspiration for me, whether it’s DIY ingenuity or dinner ideas. Trying to establish a healthier lifestyle can also use a little motivation but search ‘motivation’ on Pinterest and you are flooded with a screen full of toned gym bodies.
I’m not saying looking good in a bikini is bad but I think the reason for adding exercise to your routine is getting lost. Do you exercise to emulate the models on the fashion runways, look like the teens at the beach, have the perfect hourglass shape or is regular exercise important so you can play a game of soccer with your kids without panting, avoid relying on coffee to snap you out of your exhausted midday state, hopefully prolong your life so you’ll be there to enjoy your kids and grandkids and maybe great grandkids?
Being healthy doesn’t have to mean a muscle-toned gym body or that you can run a marathon in under an hour (or at all). Sometimes visuals can be misleading. Sometimes they can be unrealistic. Sometimes that can be discouraging. I love this article from yoga teacher Gigi in Mind Body Green.
‘A constant urge to lose weight to look like the women we see in media can create unhealthy expectations for ourselves. Our attempts to achieve unrealistic goals often fail, or we achieve them at a great expense. We’re left with lower self-esteem than when we started.’
It reminds me that we’re not all the same. We’ll never all fit into the same mold so why use something that may be unrealistic to motivate yourself?
You may not have a gym membership but perhaps you ditch the car and walk the kids to school. You may not eat all organic food but you make an effort to include meat-free alternatives in you family’s meal plan. You may not be able to fit into those pre-pregancy jeans but you haven’t been hit by a midday crash in a long while.
I’m not trying to create excuses for those of us who don’t have fitness as our central focus. I’m just reminding you and me, that not all ideas behind fitness may be good for you. Believe me, this is a challenge. I find myself struggling with this every day, what I physically think I should look like from exercising versus the benefits I gain that may not be apparent to those on the outside. Exercise isn’t just for the athletic; it’s something everyone can add into their routine. We just need to remember why we’re doing it.
Exercise is an important factor when trying to live a healthier lifestyle but challenge yourself to be honest about the motivation behind your exercise routine. Do it for a healthier you, even if it means you may never look like the models in the fitness ads.
Are you up for the challenge?