In a nutshell: You can expect it to be difficult to start exercising regularly. Obstacles will be in your way. You will find that everything is against you. You will think that everything is bad. This is normal and it happens to all of us. Be gentle with yourself, but also keep doing it, removing obstacles, rearranging your life to make exercise a priority.
The gist: If you are ready to seriously start exercising, you will notice that anything that can go wrong will go wrong: you’ll get sick, hurt yourself, find out that your home is unbearably dirty, chores will become urgent, your work will demand more of your time, you will be tired, hungry, cranky, your equipment will be dirty, in the washing machine or unavailable in other ways. The world will be against you exercising. That moment when you are ready to hit the gym, something will happen that will need your undivided attention. You will forget towels, water, yoga mats…
You are not alone, and it doesn’t only happen to you. It’s resistance.
I learned about resistance in Yoga Teacher Training and read about it before starting exercising. So I knew what I was up against. It was still brutal. I started with going to the gym 5 minutes away from my work. I planned to do it on my lunch break and just exercise for 20 minutes at a time. All of a sudden, I started feeling bad for my colleagues eating lunch at their desks. Clients started calling right before noon.
Once, my child was sick… never mind he was with our wonderful babysitter that I trusted. Never mind that he wasn’t that sick to start with… I couldn’t just go to the gym… Eventually, I actually exercised, and felt good about it. And learned that resistance is going to be my constant companion as long as I will try to get something good done.
I changed 3 gyms before finding the right one, and I’m still feeling resistance. Bad classes, bad instructors, too cold, too hot, loud music, you name it. It’s there, we know it. We just can’t exercise when things are this outrageous and everything is against us.
You don’t need to put up with bad customer service, but you need to learn to silence that overly critical voice in your head. If you are serious about exercising, I suggest you start with managing time. Find a time to exercise, and be firm about it until you can keep it 6-7 times a week. Walk, run, do yoga, anything, not too strenuous. Keep at it. Add up to an hour and increase intensity just a bit. Respect your exercise time and make sure your family respects it too.
When you get to really do strength training or more serious aerobic, you will hurt a lot. It’s not a good time to also fight resistance. Trust me, I know. I spent days in pain in bed eating chocolate and having to start it all over again.
Finally, I had my gym set in stone with a one year commitment. I gave my exercise time priority over anything else. By then I learned that you need to do it every day, that pain is more bearable if you move a bit more each day. I learned it gets better in time, and, one day, I just walked to my car and not dragged myself in pain.
If you want to dig deeper: Read or listen to the book War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I have the audio book read by the author and it’s an intense listen. It’s about resistance to creating art. It’s the same for exercise. It’s a worthwhile thing to do and you will encounter resistance. We all do.
Action: Set that time. Tell everyone about your time for exercise. Do something, go back the next day and do a bit more. Find a friend or partner to support each other. Laugh out resistance. It will be there for you. It’s there for all of us!