How to become that person who exercises in the cold and dark

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Through very achievable micro-goals which relate to action rather than outcomes, Cooke takes clients who do not see themselves as ‘fitness freaks’ and over time builds an identity in which they become people who work out.

The very first crucial step, that initial placing of the remote on the coffee table and heading to the door, often means finding someone to be with you. Cooke says, “I’m an accountability buddy. Bridging the gap between behaviour and intention.”

The sense of belonging, feeling part of something others are participating in is hugely powerful. Josephine Perry, sport psychologist and author of The Ten Pillars of Success, advises anyone wanting to move off their upholstery to find a companion. “Find someone to do it with, someone like you, not the fittest person you know. The power of belonging is huge. Join a team or a club and feel like you belong.”

Accountability, belonging and incremental goals will change the way you see yourself. But Cooke says the process takes time. To move from wanting to lose weight for a wedding, or prepare for a charity run, to becoming someone whose identity encompasses exercise usually happens within a year.

Over four decades ago I began working out, often performing the wrong moves for the wrong reasons but now I’m someone who exercises.  Tomorrow morning why not head out for some movement, anything? Just keep going regularly, no sudden lifestyle overhauls, and one day you’ll be out there with drizzle on your face and joy in your heart.

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