if you love it, don’t set it free

if you love it, don’t set it free

The way I see it, as long as you incorporate movement into your life, you are providing your body with the love and care that it needs. If you are guilty of constantly feeling pressured to exercise, and you telling yourself that you either don’t want to or don’t have time to, try a shift in thought. Rather than making yourself be active, how about allowing yourself? For me, discovering what I love has been my greatest source of motivation.

If you force yourself into a workout routine that doesn’t serve you mentally, you’ll experience the inevitable crash and burn. I personally steer away from thoughts along the lines of “I need to workout today” and even the phrase “working out” in general. Although “working out” has become such an integral part of our culture, it has, in a way, taken on the opposite effect than intended. We’re scared of it. We want to avoid it. We see it as too overwhelming. Or we become obsessed with it and chase perfection. We’re losing sight of why “working out” became a cultural norm in the first place. Being active is a personal commitment you make to yourself. It is a measure of self-respect. But when you think of it as added pressure, it may be difficult to discover anything you enjoy.

Going to the gym is by no means the only way to stay active. I believe that when you find something you love—whether that is karate, belly dancing, or walking your dog, exercise is no longer something you have to do or should do. It becomes something you want to do. And when you genuinely want to do something, you’re more apt to make time for it. I truly believe that we can all find something active that we like to do.

During college breaks, I run with one of my high school cross-country coaches. As a talented and extremely committed runner, she dedicates a lot of time to improving her strength and speed. But what impresses me more than anything else is her thought process of “When will I run today?” versus “Am I going to be able to fit in my run today?” While it doesn’t serve everyone to wake up at 5:00 AM and hit the gym in order to make it to work on time, she stands as a reminder to me that we can all make it work when it is a priority. The thing is, it’s worth it because running brings us happiness. It is something that is not only good for our bodies, but our minds and souls. And that is precisely why we have made it a priority. So sure, there are sacrifices involved, but they’re worth it when you are doing it for genuine satisfaction.

The picture above was taken after a marathon I ran in October.  For years I envisioned a marathon as an extreme and far-off endeavor. But my brother offered, “Just do it if you want to! If you want to run a marathon, sign up for one.”  It took no more than five minutes for me to be convinced. From the minute I registered, my approach was to look at this feat as an opportunity to expand my time with something that I really love. And because of this mindset, the difficult parts of training were welcomed. I looked at it as inspiring rather than difficult. See the difference? We can’t let the fear of what it takes to get there restrain us from chasing after it.

Simplify your thoughts. Let them flow. Act on the ones that feel right. If it’s important enough to you, you will find time for it. Take the first and necessary step in investing in yourself to discover what you connect with. And then stop wanting and wishing and wondering. Incorporate wellness into your life. You’re worth it.

A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.