So…how are those New Year’s resolutions going?
As we embark on the second month of the year, maybe you feel like a million bucks. After all, you’ve gotten four productive weeks under your belt, fulfilling your resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, save money and improve yourself across the board.
If you’re anything like the rest of us, your resolve has not only begun to fade, it’s starting to sit like that last glass of eggnog on Christmas, weighing you down literally and metaphorically. Studies show that by March, over 50% of us will have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions entirely. And it may be cynical of me, but I’d venture that the number would be even higher if people were truly being honest about it.
So maybe it’s time for a February resolution. Rather than make these winter months more dreary than short days and cold nights already do, why not find a way to make this year different—not simply enduring, but embracing.
It’s about having some fun.
There’s no shortage of emotional and physical benefits to exercise. And there’s no shortage of books, magazines, and people that want to tell us all about them. The problem isn’t a lack of information, it’s finding the time, energy, and essential motivation to gear up for the dreaded word we so badly want to love and enjoy: exercise.
Here are a few suggestions to make it more fun, especially at this time of year.
Do it with friends. Exercising with friends is a lot more fun than exercising alone. Everyone’s time is precious, and all too often we end up canceling on our pals as life gets in the way. But catching up doesn’t have to be over coffee, lunch, or wine—maybe it’s a weekly tennis game or a line of bowling, even if you’ve never played the sport regularly. Friendships forged through sport often last a lifetime, since shared hobbies and passions can intertwine lives in a wholly unique way.
Stake out the time and protect it. If you commit to a weekly time slot with a friend or two, you’ll find it much more difficult to cancel. Book a racqet court at a regular time, or sign up together for an exercise class. Once you actually work it into your schedule, you’ll probably find it much easier to keep it going.
Add a touch of competition. Many of us were raised to be “nice,” and a healthy sense of competition wasn’t always part of that definition. Instead, it was something we’ve had to nurture in ourselves. Now that we’ve finally managed to acquire it, why not have some fun with it? Don’t underestimate the zing that a little competitive adrenaline can add to your sport or workout.
Consider joining a sports league. I know—chances are, you’re scoffing at the mere notion of such a thing. But not so fast. As the world has gotten used to the idea of healthier living—and strong, independent women—an abundance of women’s sports leagues have popped up across the country, in tennis, soccer, golf, running, volleyball, and even ice hockey, to name just a few. They’re out there, and probably closer than you think. They welcome beginners young and old who are willing to get out there, get some exercise, and to play to the best of their abilities, whatever that might be.
I recently joined a women’s soccer league that plays every Sunday morning. The athletic level is moderate, but the enjoyment is outstanding. Many of our players are well into their 40s, and all of us are committed to that hour out of the house, doing something for ourselves, and enjoying every second of it. Every week I’m astounded at how good it feels, even though it’s only an hour. In addition to the fun of the game itself, there’s the added benefit of an entire new group of friends, with a shared enthusiasm to boot.
Whether you’re an independent working woman, devoted wife, caring mom, or some combination of the three, we all know how hard it can be to find time for ourselves. But there are many ways to make exercise more fun. Maybe this approach can help you find the motivation to keep moving through these cold, dark days until spring finally kicks in and lures us all outside. And when it does, perhaps this way of thinking will find you embracing this special time for yourself each week, discovering that a little innocent competition can be utterly invigorating, and getting acquainted with the inner athlete you may have forgotten—or never knew.