For 11 years of my life, I played softball, but when I came to college, I found that I had to hang up my cleats. During my freshman year at UNCG, I tried to maintain a gym regimen, but found myself unable to stick with it.
The summer after freshman year, I got back into exercising, everyday I would do some sort of workout, and I started to feel better. My body and mind felt better, and it was very therapeutic. When sophomore year came, I was worried that I would lose the very drive I had gained back over the summer.
I read an article about how self-motivation can be improved with a routine, so I decided to give it a try. I found that the only time I could go to the gym every day, was between 5 and 6 a.m. It was, of course, the only time throughout the week where I for sure had nothing going on.
Now if you told me that by November I would be looking forward to getting up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the gym, I would be a little skeptical. But, now it is one of my favorite parts of the day. Here is what I learned when I started 5 days of 5 a.m. workouts.
To begin, I learned that I had to go in with a heavily self-motivating mindset. When you wake up that early, it is easy to roll over and say” “maybe tomorrow,” but with each day of working out, it got easier and easier, until I was happy to get up.
This mindset helped me in school, and in my social life too, increasing this self motivation so early in the morning, kick started my day.
It made me feel accomplished and heightened my sense of responsibility, and that translated into school, friends and family.
The next thing I learned was that I am not going to make it every day, but that does not mean I failed. For the first week or so, if I were to miss a workout I would be kind of hard on myself, but that is not the way to handle it. I’m human, and I get tired or stressed and if I miss a workout, there is a tomorrow and I can make up for it.
It taught me not to be so hard on myself, and that it wasn’t a setback, it was a chance to improve. The most important thing I learned throughout this whole process is correct motivation, or the question: “why am I really doing this.”
Whenever I dreaded working out, it was for the reason that I had to go workout because I was not happy with the way I looked. Working out was then, a negative motivation because it reminded me that my body did not look the way I wanted it to.
However, when I changed my mindset, I started to love working out, because I was being kind to my body, I wasn’t trying to change it out of hatred, I was working out because I love my body.
The body that you have is the only body you will ever have, and there is no point in shaming yourself because you don’t have abs.
Working out shouldn’t be for an end goal to look a certain way — I’m not saying don’t have fitness goals — but what I am saying is, that the journey should be just as great as the end result. Essentially, it can be hard to enjoy working out when focusing only on the end results.
I can now say that, I have stuck with this regimen for three months, and since day one, I couldn’t have dreamed of doing it that long. However, that is just the point, to try something new, push yourself; maybe fail a couple of times, and then continue on.
This “5 days of” series has taught me a lot, what I have taken away from the entire experience is that I will never be too old to try something new, and there is always something to learn and experience the different things life can offer. What are your next five days going to be like?