How to Bend without Breaking

If you're like me, you don't always feel like working out. Some days it comes naturally, and those days are wonderful. Other days it sounds as enticing as getting hit in the head with a mallet.

This used to cause me trouble. I set a rigid schedule and told myself I had to stick to it. No exceptions. As a result, there were some days when I exercised and wasn't too happy about it. There were other times when I skipped out and felt guilty. I broke my word and my plan.

It reached the point when I didn't want to do it at all. I felt trapped, obligated. It took a toll on my motivation.

Then I made a change so simple that it's almost laughable. But it worked. And, perhaps, it will work for you.

My schedule is to exercise five days a week. In the past, my two days off were reserved for the weekends. This is what led to the turmoil. Working out Monday through Friday was mandatory. But now, instead of five straight days of workweek exercise, I use the two days off at my discretion.

Not motivated Monday? Take the day off. Feeling wimpy on Wednesday? Skip it. As long as I got my five days in, I felt good. I had room to breathe, room to postpone when I wasn't in the mood, and I was still meeting the goal. The day after a break, because I didn't force it the day before or load my mind with guilt, I was ready to go.

Ideas don't have to be groundbreaking to be effective. So if you're having trouble staying motivated with your exercise program, try tinkering with the schedule. Give yourself the flexibility to take a break when it's needed. That way you'll have a plan that rolls with everyday living, instead of a forced road march that ends up killing every ounce of drive you have.


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