The Energy Mind Game
I’m pretty stubborn and I don’t compromise on much that’s related to my career, personal beliefs or health. However, that doesn’t mean I love all things healthy or that I don’t have days where I just don’t feel like exercising. But I’ve learned that in life, you sometimes have play some mind games with yourself to power through the things you don’t love to get to the things you enjoy. For many people, exercise and healthy living are at the top of the list of things they don’t feel like doing. So, can you talk yourself into being more fit? Having more energy?
My favorite celebrity trainer, Chalene Johnson, a high-energy, motivating dynamo from Southern California has a quote that I absolutely love. “Energy is a state of mind. Tell yourself you’re tired and you will be. Tell yourself you have energy and you will.”
Is it Really All in Your Head?
Chalene’s quote has always resonated with and motivated me, but I wondered if there was any truth to it? Is energy something we can just tell our brains and bodies we have? Turns out you can fake it ‘til you make it to get your body up and moving. I did the research to explain it and have boiled it down to these points.
- Self-talk is powerful. If you grew up in a family with an “I can’t” or “it’s hard” mentality, you may be wired to quit when something gets tough. Worse yet, you may not even try because you’re convinced you’ll fail. These behaviors become powerful habits that keep us stuck.
- Energy attracts like energy. For many people, they carry that negative energy into adulthood and surround themselves with like-minded people. Thus, continuing the self-doubt, destined-to-fail attitude in all aspects of their lives – career, relationships and wellness.
- Negative self-talk is a habit you can change. Here’s the good news. You may have a propensity for negative energy but it’s not a life sentence. By reframing the inner-talk, you can change your energy and move yourself and your goals forward.
How to Master that Inner Dialogue
In reflecting on how I power through when I don’t feel like it, and my inner voice is saying, “stay here in this warm bed,” here are my tips for fooling your mind into getting up and moving.
- Use the 5 Second Rule (check it out here). A big influence in my life is Mel Robbins. She is an author and motivational speaker who used the power of 5 seconds to propel herself out of bed and into a successful life and career. Check out the link above but the quick explanation is this…when you have an impulse to do something like working out, but you aren’t self-motivated to do so, count back from 5 to 0 and physically MOVE. When you do, you prevent your brain from talking you out of it. It can be used for anything and everything in your life, especially wellness. I use it to walk away from that second cookie or the impulse to have another glass of wine at happy hour.
- Give it 5 Minutes. This is a Chalene Johnson hack that I’ve used for years. I make a deal with myself that I’ll give exercise 5 minutes. If I still feel tired/unmotivated/cranky, I’ll stop. I can count on one hand the number of times I stopped working out in over 10 years.
- Get it Over With. When you put off exercise or anything until “later” you spend the whole day making excuses about why you can’t. You will put everything and everyone ahead of that 1 hour of gym time. Don’t do it later…get up, lace up and go.
- Everything Counts. Many times, we talk ourselves out of exercise because we believe we must ‘go hard or go home’. Ditch that belief and know that a 30-minute walk or a gentle yoga session is often all you need to gain the benefits of movement when you just don’t want to feel exhausted.
- Plan your Days On/Off. If I already know what days I’m working out and when I’m not, I don’t feel the pressure of having to decide and have that inner debate every day. Schedule your workouts and your rest days. Put them on your calendar and treat them like any other meeting or appointment. It frees you from making that decision daily.
Flip the Script in Your Mind
So much of what we do physically is controlled by our thoughts and attitudes. How we speak to ourselves and what we say in those moments of decision-making are critical to living a healthy life. Impulses to eat better and to exercise more are fleeting, we must recognize them and act before we talk ourselves out of it.