where a woman can build her strength and freedom

What can possibly convince us to exercise?

Encouragement shown in the photo. Large print written on a sidewalk says: "KEEP GOING MAMA!" with an arrow pointing forward

If you are like me, exercise does not come naturally.

You don’t wake up in the morning thinking:
“WOW. I can’t wait to run around the block!”

The mere thought may make you feel a tad queasy.

So what’s a girl to DO if she wants to have a good strong lean body
but hates the idea of having to break a sweat?

There are dozens of workout programs out there promising great results,
but what if we can’t even bring ourselves to try one?

Alas, some of us never exercise until later in life after we have a heart attack
and our doctor says: Do it or die.

There’s gotta be a better way to get ourselves going.

Are you willing to take a look?

Let’s DO this!

Something may click if you keep looking

When I was in university, I used to go regularly to an excellent chiropractor.

Every time I was in there, as he worked on my back,
he would encourage me to find some form of exercise I enjoyed.

Ha. I had zero interest. Zero intention. But he never stopped trying.

One year my husband gave me an Adidas running outfit for Christmas
with a card that said: Exercise is the best makeup in the world.

I thought that was clever!

Actually ran a few laps in that suit!

My turn-around finally came in 2001 when I came upon a trainer named Tony Horton.

I saw an ad where he talked about his workout program called Beach Body.

It wasn’t the program that reached me, it was his encouraging approach.

The ad showed him talking with the women who were doing his workouts.

I thought: “Look how beautifully he talks with them! This guy makes them feel strong.

With him in my corner, I will get strong.”

And I did. Actually did the whole program, listening to his encouraging voice.

Thank you, Tony!

After that I took up running, and have run a 3 mile race every year for over 20 years.

This spring I hired a coach and a swim instructor and began training for a triathlon.

They’ve got me biking, swimming and running non stop all week.

Haha sounds great, doesn’t it?

Guess what. I still don’t like to exercise.

Swimming freestyle is so hard that this morning I was in tears (again) in the pool.

BUT I won’t back down.

Why? Because I have the constant encouragement of my fiance and my daughter.

THAT is the only reason I am able to continue, and know that I won’t quit.

Constant continuous encouragement.

What if continuous encouragement is what we ALL need in order to exercise?

What if most of us are just not able to do this alone?

What if it is just too hard?

And just too lonely?

What if we are in such rough shape it will take a long time to see any results?

What if what we need is constant continuous encouragement–
but we don’t have anyone to give it to us?

Let’s clarify what kind of encouragement we need

Before we ask anyone for support, we need to ask ourselves what we need.

What activity (walk/run/swim/bike/workout…) is the one we want to begin?

And when we imagine ourselves starting to do it,
what kind of encouragement do we need to help us continue?

What do we actually need someone to DO?

Do we need to email or text with them before and after we do the activity?

Do we need a once a week phone conversation? Or to talk in person?

Do we need to send them little progress reports, and receive their responses?

Do we need someone who will do the activity with us?

Just asking for their encouragement is too open ended and vague.

Requesting specific acts of encouragement is much more clear,
and will allow the person to make a time-limited commitment.

For example, my daughter is delighted with our simple arrangement.

She receives a brief email from me after I complete each training session,
telling her how it went and what my times were.

She sends me back heartfelt cheers and loving encouragement.

It probably takes each of us about ten minutes to share in this way,
but I feel so encouraged by her words that I could do the training all over again!

Five Ideas For Finding the Right Person

  • 1. It is quite possible that the right person is right in front of our nose!!!

    Often we don’t realize how happy it would make someone
    to be part of our success.

    Ask yourself:
    Who in my life would be utterly DELIGHTED if I would start exercising?

    Whose cheers would mean the most to me?

    Then go ahead—get up your nerve and ASK that person for his/her support!
  • 2. Ask yourself if there is someone among your friends, family and co-workers whom
    you would love to encourage – and propose a barter arrangement with them.
  • 3. Join a club and find someone to train with for mutual encouragement.
  • 4. Join an online group and find a fellow member to connect with.
  • 5. Hire a coach to provide encouragement online and/or in personal training sessions.

Everyone is different, and so is the kind of encouragement we need
and the person we need to receive it from.

The key is to know ourselves and what sparks our best commitment.

Then we just need to let the right person have the joy of contributing to our success!


Whose encouragement would mean the most to you?

Can you think of an artful and gracious way to ask this person?

Let me know how it goes!

Dr. Hall