With its cold winds and sizzling fireplaces, winter can be the enemy of exercise. And when you're sitting, huddled in a cosy blanket with a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit in hand, the thought of leaving for a brutal, windswept run is, of course, completely unbearable (we get it!).
However, winter is long gone, and perhaps you're beginning to panic about how little exercise you've done and how often you rewarded those pitiful attempts with a large glass of prosecco and a few scones. Or maybe you've noticed the increasingly worrisome look of apathy cross your face whenever anyone mentions 'kale'.
In any case, something needs to be done.
Rest assured, this gym-fleeing, bed-loving phase is in no way uncommon. We all experience exercise hibernation, and now is the perfect time for us to get back on our feet and hop on over to the nearest gym. Here's how it's done:
1. DO FIRST, THINK LATER
Time and time again, we get caught into the trap of thinking about exercising or imagining our journey to the gym or the pool, when we're really just trying to give ourselves a reason to back out. Don't do it! If you don't give yourself a choice, strap on your trainers, and head out the door, you'll be far more likely to actually do something and you'll begin to really enjoy the feeling of being a gym hero. Don't visualise your run, and don't waver over it looking for a way out. Do first, think later.
2. GET UP EARLIER TO EXERCISE IN THE MORNINGS
This one is an oldie, and a goodie. If you have trouble getting motivated, set your alarm and do your exercise in the morning before you have time to think about what you're doing (or even wake up properly). You'll get it out of the way, and you'll spend the rest of the day feeling like an unstoppable goddess, with the secret knowledge that you got up earlier than the rest of us to kick ass.
3. DON'T BUY YOUR TRIGGER FOODS
Everyone has a snack that almost inevitably sends them into spirals of binge eating and self-hatred (for me, it's chocolate coated pretzels). Do not, under any circumstances, buy that snack. Instead, buy food you enjoy eating, but that will force you to cook decent meals that won't send you into the danger zone. This may not seem connected to exercise, but trust me, if you're feeling clunky and unhealthy, you'll be far less likely to head to the pool or the gym.
4. TELL THE WORLD YOUR PLANS
The trick here is to not tell so many people that you'll start losing sight of the aim, but to tell a smaller group of the right people. Tell someone who will make you feel accountable. And don't just tell them you're planning on going for a run, tell them you absolutely must and that if you don't they need to force you out. I would also strongly suggest thinking about your fears, and why you aren't already exercising. When I first started exercising, I thought it would be best to ignore those fears. It isn't. If you try charting them in a journal, you'll begin to realise that a lot of them are ill-founded, irrational, and sometimes a teeny bit lazy. If you really need help with motivation, try writing a before and after list. How did you feel before your run? What were you scared of? How did you feel after going? This is incredibly helpful in reinforcing your motivation next time around.
5. CREATE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
While rewarding yourself with junk food isn't the most advisable, positive reinforcement can go a long way. If you feel like a treat could be a good way to get you going, why not reward a run with some shopping, or some new body scrubs after a week or a month of progress? Congratulating yourself for hitting your goals is a must! These will prompt you to take better care of your health and body, whilst giving you another great reason to keep up your exercise regime!
MEET THE MODERNA CONTRIBUTOR
Rashina Gajjar is a self-improvement addict, digital strategist and Editor-In-Chief of Globe Of Love Magazine.