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Is Exercise a Form of Self-Love? Absolutely—Here’s Why

Feb 14, 2024

The pressure of the New Year can feel overwhelming. Resolutions are well-intentioned, motivating, and inspiring—but often lack sustainability when it comes to real life. You can be super committed to your goals on January 1st, but for a lot of people, life eventually gets in the way.

That doesn’t make you a failure—it makes you a human. Everyone has been there. Stumbling along the way to your goals doesn’t mean that you’ve given up or that you won’t make it, it simply means that you’ve hit a challenge.

At Fitness Together® studios, experienced personal trainers are here to support you no matter where you’re at in your journey. Here, we’ll take a look at how you can change your mindset when it comes to working toward becoming your healthiest self.

What’s Your Why?

Understanding the deeper reasoning behind your goals can be the first step in creating lasting dedication. Your why is the reason you’re going to stay committed even when things get tough.

Maybe you want to be able to play shadow tag with your kids as the sun sets, without worrying about getting out of breath and needing to take a break. Perhaps you’re concerned about a potential or diagnosed health condition, and you want to be your strongest, healthiest self. Perhaps you simply want to look great when you go on vacation this summer (that’s ok, too!).

Remembering your why is an important part of sticking to your new habits on the days that it would feel easier to throw in the towel. Your why can change over time. Maybe you initially wanted to start exercising in preparation for an upcoming event, but realized that you didn’t want to live without the energy you felt after crushing it in a challenging training session.

If you’re not sure about your why, a studio can help. Personal trainers are here to help you discover why exercise matters to you, and to encourage you to stick with it so you can get the benefits you need to feel your best.

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

Prior to takeoff on a plane, the flight attendants tell passengers that in the event of an emergency, it’s important that you put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.

It makes sense.

If you help others before you help yourself, you’ll slump over halfway through your helping efforts. The same is true in life. If you’re working to take care of the people you love, give your all at your job, or be a rock star in another area of your life, you need to take care of your own needs first. This includes prioritizing your physical health.

When you put your physical health first, you aren’t just getting a boost in energy—you’re also getting the staying power that you need to be there for the people you care about long-term. When people in your life see the positive changes that you’re making to your health, and the way you’re able to be your best self when you’re physically healthy, you may even inspire some of them to begin incorporating more movement into their daily lives.

Forget resolutions.

Just 9% of Americans follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Most people find that the sticking power of their resolution runs out around mid-February.

There’s a reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail, and it’s not because you didn’t intend to follow through. At the start of a new year, you’re bombarded with the idea of making a lasting change in conjunction with a fresh start. The idea of wiping the slate clean and starting anew is tempting, but it doesn’t consider the potential roadblocks that can stand in the way.

Let’s check out some of the reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t usually stick.

You Weren’t Ready

When thinking about New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to think about whether you’re truly ready for change. There are five stages of change:

  • Precontemplation: In this stage, you’re noticing some factors that indicate that something in your life isn’t working. Perhaps your performance at work isn’t what it once was because you’re struggling to find the energy to stay productive throughout the day. Maybe you notice that you can’t keep up with your kids or grandkids like you used to. Your doctor may have mentioned that you need to incorporate more activity into your life to ward off potential health issues.
  • Contemplation: When you’re in the contemplation stage, you’re considering what you’d need to do in order to change—and whether you’re interested in the commitment required to move toward your goals.
  • Preparation: You’ve decided that it's time to change, and during the preparation stage, you’re working to set yourself up for success. You may be meeting with a trainer, talking to your doctor, and creating grocery lists that will support your efforts.
  • Action: Time to get moving. During the action stage, you’re actively taking the steps necessary to change.
  • Maintenance: At this phase, you’ve hit your goal, and you’re putting in the work necessary to maintain your results.

Many people making lofty New Year’s resolutions are jumping to the action stage before they’ve fully thought through a plan.

Taking the leap to action before thinking through potential roadblocks, necessary schedule changes, or the effect of the change on other responsibilities can set you up for failure.

Thinking Too Big

I’m going to hit the gym twice a day, every day, and cut out all processed foods until I reach my goal.

I’m going to train for my first race—a marathon—and complete the 26.2 mile course by June.

Both of these goals sound exciting, but they aren’t sustainable for most people. When people think too big, they quickly see that it will take more time than they thought to reach their goals, which can be discouraging. This can lead to a “why bother” mindset that makes it easy to fall back into your old ways.

No Accountability

When you decide that you’re going to make a change for the New Year, motivation can be strong. You may feel like you don’t need anyone but yourself to hold you accountable, or that you’re so committed that nothing will keep you from working toward your goal. For most people, accountability is key. Research shows that people who tell others about their goal, work with a coach, use a digital accountability tracker, or join an accountability group are twice as likely to hit their goals than those who do not have a method of holding themselves accountable.

The day that you decide you’re ready to make a change doesn’t matter. Deciding to make a change the right way—by choosing a realistic, ambitious, measurable goal—does.

Own Your Destiny

If you threw in the towel on your New Year’s resolution, you are far from alone. That being said, there’s no reason to let a calendar dictate when you decide to take control of your life. You don’t need to wait for next year, next month, or even next week.

Rather than letting an arbitrary date determine when you’ll decide to change, take your power back. Contemplate where you want to go and find a team that can decide on the action steps that you need to take to get there.

The Fitness Together brand works with clients to help you set goals that make sense for you, and will be there to support you every step of the way. No matter what stage of change you’re currently at, a team will be there with you to help you move to the action phase in a way that’s sustainable and effective.

Remember the Ripple Effect

When you decide to incorporate self-love into your life—especially in the form of exercise—you may notice that other areas of your life are positively affected as well. Prioritizing your own well-being can help you say yes to the things that matter, and to say no to the things that don’t.

Physical exercise can improve your performance at work the following day, can increase your overall productivity, and can help your cells produce more energy. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to take care of everything (and everyone) else.

You’ll also likely notice that once you get started with regular exercise, it’s easier to keep going. Exercise immediately releases chemicals that contribute to a positive mood. When you’re feeling happy and confident, your newfound sense of self will bubble over into all that you do. This can lead to better relationships, reduced stress-related health issues, and better sleep.

The Fitness Together Brand: Let’s Do This.

The Fitness Together brand believes in providing you with the encouraging support that you need to keep moving forward. A studio’s personal trainers have the specialized knowledge necessary to create plans that keep you motivated and move you toward your goals in a way that creates sustainable results. Whether you’ve never stepped into a gym or you’ve been working out for years, a studio is here to lift you up and support you every step of the way. Reach out to your local Fitness Together studio today to set up an appointment with a personal trainer—they can’t wait to meet you!


Schedule a complimentary fit evaluation so we can get to know you and your goals and build you a customized training program to reach them.