Hello Friends! I hope you are doing well. I have to confess. If there is an ideal time to be stuck in the house with no social obligations, being 39 weeks pregnant is a great time to do it!
My previous yoga students and those who know me well are aware of my tendency to be a little intense. This applies to my everyday life as well as my exercise routine. However, this pregnancy has given me a new perspective on what it is like to have physical limitations that slow your progress. Before I had children, I was actually in the best shape of my life. I worked on my physical health for over 9 months and had seen massive changes not only in my physique but also in my endurance and physical strength.
During my first pregnancy I was able to maintain a pretty intense exercise regimen with some modifications of course, but during my second pregnancy I found that I truly had to take a step back and take things day by day. This was a very difficult mindset shift for me, but I truly believe it was for the best. Having limitations doesn’t mean that you are weak. It simply means that you will have to adjust your expectations. I know that I will get back into great shape someday soon. I will do this because I enjoy being in great shape. I enjoy being active with my kids and participating in challenging physical activities. I have no regard for the peer pressure that is sometimes put on mothers to “bounce back or get their bodies back.” However, I also know that my fitness goals will probably take me 18-24 months to achieve. This is because motherhood is taxing not only emotionally but also physically. It’s going to take time to rebuild my body and get back to a place where I can push myself during exercise and not do more harm than good.
Now if you are new to physical exercise or also are dealing with some significant physical limitations or simply struggle with being consistent, then I know you will find this blog post extremely helpful. This is a lesson that I finally accepted at the beginning of 2020. It’s better to be consistent and have a small goal then to shoot for something big and miss the mark.
Step #1: Set a specific goal. I think we often try to select goals that we feel like we “should” be able to achieve instead of reaching for goals that are reasonable for our season of life. My exercise goal is to do some yoga every day when I first wake up. Sometimes I do 5 minutes of yoga. Other times I can do a full 30 minutes. The goal is not the duration of the workout, but instead the consistency to show up every day.
Step #2: Measure your progress and reward yourself. It takes a long time to change a habit. If you want to maintain changes long term you have to reward yourself. I think on psychological level we are all like little kids. When we do something good, we want a reward. This reward might not be in place forever, but until you get passed the 90-day mark, it’s important to treat yourself when you are making positive behavior changes.
Step #3: Have a vision for what your new self will look/ feel like. This step is important to keep yourself encouraged. However, it’s important that this doesn’t play into a cycle of self-criticism and body shaming. If you focus on physical results, it will be very easy to get frustrated if you don’t meet the expectations you select for yourself. However, if you focus on emotional and energetic goals it will be much easier to feel successful. We can’t always control our physical bodies. However, we can control how we speak to ourselves and how we feel about our bodies.
Here is how I apply these principles to my own life. I want to do a daily yoga routine to allow myself to stay active and feel good in my physical body. If I do this consistently 6/7 days of the week for 30 days, I will reward myself with two of my favorite Beautycounter skincare items. Then I write this goal in my planner and check it off everyday I complete my goal. If I was focused on achieving certain physical results, I would put a specific time measurement on my yoga routine. However, I am mainly focused on showing up and being consistent so I’m less concerned about putting a time marker on the goal. What about you? Do you have any fitness goals while in quarantine?
Talk to you soon!