I was thinking the other day about why and how exercise adherence- the motivation to keep going- is so challenging for so many. Why do we get started but then back off? Why is it so hard to begin an exercise program, and so easy to stop? Of course our lives get in the way, we lose focus, don’t see results, or maybe just can’t handle the stress of keeping up with it. No matter which of these reasons affect your ability to maintain an exercise regimen, I realized that sticking with the program is alot like swinging on a swingset.
- When you first sit on a swing and begin the process of getting the swing moving, it takes ALOT of hard work. You must pump your legs and pull with your arms very hard to get the swing going. But, you know the effort will be worth it once the swing finds momentum.
- Once the swing finds momentum, just like your exercise program and the results you want to achieve, less work is needed to maintain the swing’s movement. Now it’s fun- a little pumping, a little pulling- but mostly the swing just keeps going higher and higher.
- THEN!! At some point, you get really high- and maybe you get scared of the results or the commitment to the results. OR, you take the swing’s momentum for granted- you lose focus, you stop putting in even the most minimal effort. Now, the swing slows down, as, without your effort, even momentum cannot keep the swing going. Soon, you are near a standstill, almost back where you started. Is the ride over?
- NO!! … If you can just keep even the smallest motion still going, you don’t have to start again from full stop. Swing your legs, pull with your arms- momentum is just a minor effort away! Now you’ve got it- and next ride, you’ll remember not to lose focus, to keep putting effort in even if it feels like things are getting easy. And, if you get too high, you can always slow down- but never stop completely. It’s just too hard to get going again.