Over the weekend reader Hanna R. reached out asking this question:
How do I overcome something that is holding me back?
I’m trying to get started walking every single day. Starting small. But every single day I come up with a reason to NOT walk.
How do I make myself do something I want to do, but can’t seem to get motivated for?
This is such a GREAT question. I struggle with this too.
The short answer is:
The long answer is:
I hate when people say, “do it.” Sometimes, you just can’t.
Many things can be in play that is holding you back. Depression is a huge de-motivator. The weather provides an excellent excuse to not do something. Change can be daunting. Time escapes us all.
What’s really holding you back, though, is yourself. To be more specific, your mind. It is difficult to overcome what you are telling yourself, but not impossible. Below are a few suggestions to defeat your mind.
Thoughts Aren’t Facts
If your brain has said, “You can’t go for a walk today, it’s too cold.” Ask yourself if it’s true. Okay, sure, it’s super windy and freezing out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You just have to dress a little warmer, maybe walk a shorter length.
I know that advice is kind of in the “do it” camp. But, it’s more about taking a moment to decide if you are making excuses, lying to yourself or if you’ve found a legitimate reason.
Admit How You’re Feeling, Accept it, Defy it
I do this with food all the time. I’m in a constant battle to kick a fast-food addiction. When I’m feeling determined, I will look in my pantry and get upset. Like, MAD.
I don’t want to eat anything that’s in there. I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to clean up. I will pout about it. Insufferable? Yes. (Sorry fam)
So, I admit how I feel about it. I accept that I’m upset. Then I begrudgingly cook, eat, and clean up. Then I move on with my day. After three or four days of this, I’m over it and look forward to making my own food versus eating some greasy junk.
Imagine the Future
Our imaginations are powerful things. Take a moment to think about what made you want to make a change. What caused you to have a surge of motivation? A health scare? A relationship fell apart? You’d reached rock bottom?
When we hit those moments, it’s very easy to see what we’d rather have. A healthy mindset, body, and habits. A loving partnership where you feel respected. Anything that’s better than rock bottom. It’s at those moments that we can imagine how we truly want our lives to look.
So, what about when we’re content? We’d like to change, but we don’t HAVE to change. There is no imminent threat to our physical, mental, or social wellbeing. No surge of motivation to be found anywhere. How do we start with a daily walk?
You imagine what that walk would look like today. Not tomorrow, not a week from now. Today.
For me, today, I would finally get to go for a walk without a coat on. The sun would warm my shoulders. I’d need sunglasses. The kids wouldn’t complain 2 minutes in that they are freezing. It would be really nice.
I can also imagine how I’d feel afterward. A ‘YES! I got outside! I got moving! My mind feels clearer. My kids have burnt some energy. Worth it.”
BRB. Going for a walk.
It’s your turn! What advice would you give Hanna? How would you encourage her to start getting a walk in every day? Let’s get her moving!
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician, or mental health professional. This column, its author, The Good Parts of Life website, and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.