Moving more is a hugely popular new year’s resolution. Many people would like to get fit, build strength, get back to the gym or start a yoga habit. Even though I have stopped creating hard resolutions for the year (more on that another time!) this is certainly a convenient time to consider goals, and a wonderful moment to reflect on how you want to live in 2020. I want to share with you some of my ideas for how you might start moving more in 2020 if that’s something you would like to do!
Write it Down
Get specific. Instead of resolving to exercise more, narrow in on what you want. How do you want to feel this year? What sorts of activities do you like to do? Choose one or two and start there. Perhaps you would enjoy walking regularly and joining a gym. Or starting a home yoga practice and getting back into swimming. Write it down, and get specific.
Break bigger goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This helps in a couple of ways. Firstly, you are more likely to take action if something seems easy and achievable. Secondly, as a person with Migraine it benefits to build up your exercise slowly, gradually, starting with easy and working from there. Write down these smaller goals - maybe walking for ten minutes a day, going for one swim a week, or getting to the gym for two twenty minute sessions each week. Keep it simple and manageable.
Focus on Consistency
Much like starting small this is important both for managing Migraine and also for creating habits that last. To really create an exercise habit that sticks, you need to focus on building up the habit first, and the exercise after. What does that mean? Well, say you want to walk three times a week. Migraine might make it difficult to pick set days to do this, but you can probably commit to three five minute walks at some point in the week. Even if you have to do two of them on Sunday to tick that box! Similarly, taking one yoga pose each day before breakfast will serve you better long term than one longer session a month. You can slowly make that two poses a day, and go from there if you like, or stick with just the one-two if that feels good!
Make it Attractive
What makes you feel good? What do you enjoy? Can you weave this in with your exercise plans somehow? In his book Atomic Habits (which I highly recommend!) James Clear talks about how combining a habit you want to build with something you love makes it more likely that you will build the habit successfully. For example my gym time is also when I catch up on my favourite podcasts. I don’t get much time to listen to them as a busy Mum, but sitting on the bike at the gym I can treat myself to a good episode or two! Other ideas include making walking a social occasion, working out while you watch Netflix or following up a good walk with a soak in the tub.
Above all, I would encourage you to be kind to yourself when setting resolutions. If you’re anything like me you have a tendency to go overboard, resolving to fix all the things you see as wrong with you. Sometimes a softer approach can get you further towards your goals. Exercise can be a gift you offer your body in 2020. Movement can become a way to learn to trust and rely on your body again after years being frustrated living with a chronic condition and the limitations that brings. Moving more might be part of a broader resolution to nourish your whole self.
I’d love to know if your resolution for 2020 involves exercise? If so, maybe you’d like to head to Instagram and share a specific simple goal you have with me!
Wishing you all the very best for the coming year! I am excited to see what it brings for this space and for us as a community.