How’s your motivation to be active day-in and day-out? Some days are better than others? That’s how it is for me. I know physical activity is good for me, but that doesn’t mean I always get in the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Sometimes life legitimately gets in the way. Other times, I let life get in the way as my excuse.
I’ll offer a bit of background on me so you know where I’m coming from. I have 2 kids; 3 years and 16 months. I work part-time and am fortunate enough to be home with my kids 2 days a week. As a mom I feel like there are a million things out there that are vying for my time. Sometimes that overwhelms me, which for me, can mean I just don’t do anything. I hate those moments. On the better days and weeks that means I am planning to make sure my priorities get accomplished. Taking care of yourself has to be a priority that you want to set because otherwise it just gets left to the end of the day when you plop down on the couch exhausted after the kids are in bed and the dishes are cleaned up just enough to make the next day’s breakfast do-able.
The idea of “taking care of yourself” is a big concept. How does one truly do that? My advice is to start by taking it one day at a time or even one decision at a time. I often think, “What have I done for my health today?”
Each time we eat we have the choice. We have the choice to eat to nourish our bodies. Each day we have the choice to be active. We have the choice to get stronger, to get up off the ground with a little more grace. We have to keep making the choice to “take care of our bodies.”
Celebrate the Small Successes
One of my small successes that helped me get motivated to take better care of myself was a deal I struck up with my husband. We decided to keep a spiritual journal together. We try to write a short reflection daily to each other. The fact that we have committed to this and stuck with it means a lot to me. It was a small success in my book. Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with me moving more, it was a confidence boost for me. Sometimes that’s all you need. Pick something small and stick to it. Celebrate the success and keep moving forward.
My Journey Back to Fitness
There’s a whole lot more to lug around on a run these days. Running had always been a part of my life until I had kids. Having my children 21 months apart left me a little overwhelmed by the idea of running again. Everything felt different and I was out of shape, plus how was I really going to make it work with kids? But I’m slowly but surely getting back into that running thing. It looks a little different than it did before, but I’m ok with that. I’ve figured out ways to be active with my kids instead of in spite of my kids. Hauling my kids in the jogging stroller with me makes me proud to be a mom and woman taking care of my body. When we first started out my 3-year-old asked me why I wasn’t running. I said, “Mommy has to practice first before we can run.” Now, she asks me to go faster and does a countdown for me as I get ready to run again after a walking break. She sings and is a built-in cheerleader. I’m showing my kids a good example and helping myself feel better physically and mentally. I’d also like to believe I’m setting an example to every other person that sees me out there because when I see you out moving more, it inspires me to keep on my journey. Even if you don’t always succeed, cut yourself some slack; treat each day as a new opportunity to make the choice for your health.
Stop Comparing. Period.
You are you and only you. When I feel the temptation to compare myself to others, I stop and remember, “I’ve got to do my own thing.” No one else lives my life, only me. Whether I’m huffing and puffing and looking like someone threw a sack of potatoes on my back as I try to “run” up a hill, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, I’m moving more and taking care of my body.