Today, I have a story to share with you--one that I've been putting off for 13 weeks. Almost 14 weeks now. And it's a story about finally getting sick of wallowing in my own bullshit and choosing to do something different--to make a change.
When I first entertained the idea of getting back into working out, I was the heaviest I’d ever been—which was only about 8-10 pounds more than my ideal weight, but my body felt soft and squishy, and I didn’t like how I felt in my clothes or my skin. I knew I hadn’t been taking care of my body with the level of love and care that I knew I required, and with full year of COVID bullshit, I was leaning on some not-so-great coping mechanisms that were in need of a serious upgrade.
With getting into children’s books, my work had become very sedentary in the few years prior, and with loads of desk work, my body was craving some love and movement. I needed to do something different and was in serious need of an upgrade
I'd ignored, avoided and put off dealing with this reality until I got sick of my own bullshit. And isn't that how it has to go? I had to get sick and tired of my own bullshit, blame, and excuses before I was ready to do something about it.
At first, it was really tricky. My mind had allllll kinds of clever and creative excuses. I had so much resistance to workouts, so I stalled and dragged my heels for months before I got started, even after I felt the inspiration, My mind was strong-arming me with all the stories and unhealed memories from the depths of my subconscious.
It was surprising to realize how many walls I had built up towards working out. I had a solid load of belief systems to unpack and unravel.
One belief that I rammed my head into for months (and one that strong armed me every time) was that I didn’t want to do punishing workouts.
I didn’t want to do pushups or burpees or mountain climbers. I’d had enough punishing workouts for one lifetime and those had a purpose back then, but I wasn’t training for NCAA div 2 level volleyball anymore and I didn’t want to punish myself anymore. That didn’t sound fun or motivating. Self-punishment wasn’t how I wanted to create change. That didn’t feel loving or supportive to my body or my mind.
I’d also wasted a solid amount of money on a one-year gym membership a few years back when the kids were even younger, and I knew that just wouldn’t work for my family’s schedule. If I wanted to be consistent, I needed to be able to workout first thing in the morning at home before the kids woke up. That way it didn’t matter if my husband was at work or not—I’d be able to wipe that excuse right off the table.
So, when my friend posted that she was doing a dance workout program, my mind got curious. It looked FUN. There was MUSIC. It seemed like a great way to move that was also a workout in disguise. I could handle that, I thought.
I went for it! I signed up and I promised myself I would prioritize having FUN in my new workout program.
But boy did I have a boatload of resistance show up. I had to decide what standard I was going to hold myself to. I wanted to honour and listen to my body, but not let my mind win me over with excuses at every turn.
It wasn’t easy to get started, so I vowed to make movement fun, listen to my body, and not punish myself. No burpees and no push-ups (to start anyways). I could handle that, I thought. And I had to take it one day at a time, one week at a time. I started with a dance workout program and that helped so much—mental health, fun, good music, dancing!
The program was three weeks long, and that felt like a lot, so I decided to focus on one day at a time. It was just 30 minutes. I could handle that. I could commit to 30 minutes of fun.
And guess what?! Even though my legs burned like hell through the tone and tighten section, I loved it. Even when there was 4 minutes of insanity, I made it through the three rounds with a few super short breaks. I surprised myself, and had a blast dancing it out.
So when I ran into the first day of weights workouts, I gave it a try and felt unfulfilled afterwards. Where was the fun? I gave up on those pretty quick. Weights felt punishing and that was not what I signed myself up for. I knew I needed to get through making a habit out of having some fun so that I wouldn’t fall off the wagon.
To make sure I wasn’t going to sabotage myself:
> I had to set out my workout clothes the night before so I wouldn’t get in my own way in the morning.
> I had to focus on moving my body in a FUN way.
> I had to set timers for how long I was allowed to read and journal so I wouldn’t conveniently sabotage myself and run out of time for my workout.
> I had to honour that I didn’t need to workout every single day.
> I also had to honour that I seriously felt better after I moved. > I had to focus on one week at a time. > I had to choose the workout that felt FUN
Well guess what happened? Before I knew it, I made it through a 3 week workout program. And I was having FUN! Imagine that?! So I started it again. And again. Soon enough I was ready to try some weights. Then I dabbled with a few other programs, then did the dance program again with ankle weights.
As the weeks turned into months, I got over the struggle to stay committed and it became easy. I wanted to workout and move my body, and by committing to 30 minutes a day, I was becoming more active overall. More walking, spontaneous urges to go for a run. I was always active with the kids, but the active lifestyle was spilling over into everything. My mental health improved. My energy levels soared. My muscle tone firmed up and eventually got more visible. Before I knew it, those first three weeks turned into three months, then six months, then one year.
The next thing I knew, my 5 & 10 lb dumbbells that I’d been stacking together weren’t heavy enough. When I’d made it through a whole year, I bought myself a real set of dumbbells.
Then one year turned into two full years. And, now, 113 weeks.
113 weeks of working out 5 or more times per week.
113 weeks of committing to at least 30 minutes of movement a day.
113 weeks of healing my relationship to exercise, "what I think I have time for" and to my body.
The most incredible transformation happened. Not only did my body change, tone up, and build endurance and stamina, but my mind surfaced a bunch of built up beliefs that I’d made up along the way.
Over time, I remembered that I used to be an athlete, and that I used to have a ton of fun being an athlete. But I also had beliefs to unpack about exercise needing to be punishing for it to be effective. Or that I have to suffer with soreness to be making progress.
It's wild to witness how much resistance the ego throws at us when we try to make a change...even when that change will be incredibly beneficial to us.
If we can just focus on one day at a time, one week at a time, and stay the course, even if that means slowing down when needed, listening to your body, and upping your self care during the hard times--just imagine what transformation could be created in one year.
Consistency pays off.
Showing up for yourself transforms you—in body and mindset and courage and grit.
Changing shitty habits has a ripple effect. ⚡️
Little changes over time add up.
30 minutes a day over 113 weeks is 395.5 hours.
What kind of magic could you create?
View my before + after instagram reel here.