Can you commit to self-care this winter? Can you be strong and move every day? Feeling fit and strong is gold. Here is the thing – no one is going to hand this to us on a silver platter. We need to do some work, be self-disciplined and stick to a routine.
As the days get shorter and the nights get colder it is easy to forget our summer/autumn exercise routine. This reduction in movement results in us having less energy as well as decreased immune function. It can even change our posture – we hunch over to keep warm and scurry around to avoid the cold air and slippery ground which can even adversely affect our spine and feet.
Our posture can shape our thoughts – hunched over posture makes us think small and can affect our self-confidence. It can also trap our body by imprisoning the organs inside the bones that are pulled into a smaller and flexed over position. Our body then gets used to and adopts this position. We may not even be aware of this until some pain develops, bringing it to our attention.
What if we continued to straighten up, walk tall, breathe deep and move? The effect on how we feel is immediate – strong, proud, confident, HAPPIER!
Intention and habit
The great thing about starting an intention is that it is highly likely to become a habit. There are many theories and much research on how long it takes to create a new habit. Some research suggests that new habits can be formed in as little as 21 days. Obviously some new habits are easier to develop than others. So let’s just start by having a plan of self-care and self-improvement.
Learn to see yourself as ‘that person that has great self-care habits’ and picture yourself as if you have already achieved your desired result. Intention is defined as an aim or plan, while habit is defined as a regular tendency or practise, especially one that is hard to give up. Habits beat intentions every time.
Habits seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a different destination. Making a choice that is 1% better seems insignificant in the moment but over the lifespan its impact can be massive.
One of the best ways to stay healthy and active during the cooler months is to set up a winter exercise habit. Something that motivates and encourages you to get up and into action.
1. Put exercise in your diary – Just like a business appointment, schedule in time to look after yourself. Keeping fit and active should be a priority all year round but is especially important to set as ‘non-negotiable’ in the cooler months to ensure it gets done.
2. Book a class/join a gym – It may sound simple but for those of us who thrive on training outdoors, winter may actually be one of those times where training indoors is safer and more desirable.
3. Get a workout buddy – This will greatly help you to commit to your self-care habit. We will show up because we do not like letting others down, we like spending time with friends and it is more fun! Sharing ideas and workouts is also a sure-fire way to keep each other interested.
4. Set a goal – Set a self-improvement related goal rather than weight related goal! For example, you may set yourself the goal of running continuously for 5 minutes, then 6 minutes, etc. Or your goal may be to decrease knee pain or to sleep better. Write it down in a diary on day one, then write it again a few months later with the question ‘how did I go?’ with the intent of writing ‘nailed it’! Training with purpose for a goal will help keep us motivated and enthusiastic all year round.
5 – Reward yourself – Reward yourself for sticking to your intention and developing a new habit by journaling your achievements – write the words ‘I am so proud of myself’ or ‘I am important’ ‘I feel amazing and energetic now as a result of sticking to my plan’ – or whatever positive messages make you smile! You could also reward yourself with new active wear, new socks or runners!
6 – Acknowledge your success – You have worked hard for this self-improvement which not only benefits you but everyone else in your life. You will be strong enough to handle what life throws at you but more importantly, you will be strong enough to enjoy the gift of life.
And remember to give yourself a high five and a massive pat on the back.
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