In past, I’ve shared about how I use a body double strategy for getting my dreaded, nasty (did I say horrendous) job of getting the fridge cleaned. This task is especially difficult for me because of the never ending, reoccuringly, dirty job it is. I know the fridge will be a mess shortly after completed and my efforts and energy will have been in vain. Furthermore, I can find everything when I need it, so the very act of cleaning the fridge strikes me as a totally unnecessary and a huge waste of my precious time. Unlike Discovery Channel and Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, I absolutely NEVER think, “Somebody has to do this job.”
So this summer as I worked hard to get motivated to walk early every morning for fitness, I kept finding excuses getting in my way. My great intentions to raise my heart rate, ‘be one’ with the sunrise, and drop some weight just isn’t enough UMPH to get me going in the morning.
Tried and true strategies like:
- Sleeping in my workout duds to ease rolling out of bed didn’t help.
- Focusing on the rewards of beautiful sunrises and enjoying a healthy breakfast seemed to fall flat in the wee hours of the day.
- Going to bed an hour earlier with the intent of being fully rested was not realistic for my family’s schedule.
- Walking with the gal pals in the ‘hood’ and capitalizing on social pressure did not motivate either.
All these are great strategies but none of them worked for me so I really had to kick it up a notch. I started by relooking at the BIG WHY of the early morning walk. The goal of being healthy was not enough as much as I wanted it to be. It just wasn’t working. Really wanting to lose weight wasn’t getting it done either. I needed an exercise CALL TO ACTION strategy that was alluring to me, personally. One that was so juicy, I just couldn’t ignore it. It was time for a reframe. Time to find a new way to look at this goal from another perspective. A reframe is key to looking at something different and is used as a tool that draws upon MY values and MY bigger picture. It gets beyond stuckness. Check out more about the tool reframing here.
Since turning 50, I have made myself a priority and being healthy was one of those priorities. Hence, the importance of my morning walks. But more importantly, I’ve also been working on connecting and being my own best friend. Being gentle with myself (check out my pinterest board I created to help) in the AM was really making it difficult to get out of bed in the early dark hours for fitness.
So how did I increase motivation? It was by reframing my goal to take care of myself. I now use that time to connect with one of my dearest and oldest friends. And get this…she’s doesn’t live in the neighborhood. She doesn’t live in the same city. We live hours away from each other but my best friend and I have a standing call where we walk over the phone together. I’m walking around our property and she is on her elliptical machine in the basement of her home.
So why did this 6:00 AM call work for me where other strategies have failed? Instead of walking for my health, I’ve reframed my walk to reconnect with a dear friend. I would never let her down and miss our calls. In fact, I find myself waking before the alarm goes off in anticipation of the conversation knowing this is a valuable use of time for us both. This also happens to be the time I use for exercising. It is time I’ve been looking for in my schedule to connect with a dear friend, taking this task from impossible to do to one that is imperative.
It’s true! In the days that we talk, I wake an hour earlier (without my alarm) and have my quiet meditation time and jump in my workout clothes. Often I get a few laps in even before I hear one word from her. I do all of these things because I can’t wait to indulge in this private time with a long time friend.
We accomplish much more in those walks than a elevated heart rate. We connect and revisit our long history of just being ourselves. We remember the girls we were, we talk about reality of raising kids, and we share the dreams we still have.
So I no longer push myself to exercise in the mornings. It’s been reframed into something altogether different. I start my mornings these days with the power of connection moving me forward. And it’s making me a much healthier and happier person than by just getting fit.