Most mothers are really, really good at making everyone and everything else a priority. There is a secret you should know, though. When you take a little bit of time to take care of yourself properly, you will be better able to take care of others. One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to exercise. Not only are you setting a good example for your children, you are giving yourself the gift of health.
Taking time for you is easier said than done, though. Here are six ways to help you get started, and stay on, the path to exercise.
- Goal Setting Don’t just say you want to exercise or lose weight. Set S.M.A.R.T. (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC AND TIMELY) goals to set you up for success.
- Fit It In To Your Lifestyle Don’t start out so hard and fast that you are burned out by the third week. Find activities that easily fit in to your lifestyle. Use your stroller for walking or running, if you have babies. If going to a gym doesn’t fit into your schedule or is cost prohibitive, try exercise DVDs (you can even check them out at the library), online training, or just walking in your neighbourhood. The most important thing is that you have to make it non-negotiable, just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Write it on your calendar just like you would a doctor appointment.
- Find Things You Enjoy Don’t believe the myth that there is one way to get fit. If you don’t like running, don’t do it—maybe yoga suites you better. Does weight lifting make you cringe? Swimming could be your thing. The bottom line is if you do what you enjoy, you will stick with it.
- Reward Yourself Positive reinforcement is a great way to stay motivated. Set a goal and decide on a reward when you reach that goal. It could be a massage, a new outfit, or even just a day to relax, as long as it’s something that you are excited to work toward. You could also pay yourself every time you workout. At the end of the month, use that money to treat yourself.
- Get A Workout Pal When someone is depending on you, it’s more difficult to make excuses. It’s much easier to skip an appointment with yourself than when you know someone is waiting for you.
- Get Your Family Involved Build an active family. Instead of using your weekends to watch the game on TV, get outside and play games. Take bike rides together, visit some of the beauty of the Ozarks and take a hike, or even go swimming.