Steps you can take to fall in love with exercise again.

February is here and everywhere you turn there are reminders of just how wonderful love is, well the Hallmark version anyway. I heard it said that true love begins where the Hollywood movie ends, and that also can be said of everything we see in the media about working out, fitness and building a life that we desire.

When it comes to creating a body that is full of joy and vitality, a vessel that will carry us into a life of our dreams and desires, we need to be active. Passion and purpose cannot be created in a body that is sitting and still. However, exercise will either shorten or lengthen the distance between you and your desires depending on your approach and mindset.

This month, I want you to fall back in love with your workouts, to make movement an elixir that you crave instead of a bitter-tasting pill.

When we love our workouts, we turn movement into fuel for our desires. And then our desires create intrinsic motivation that gives us a reason to get out of bed every morning, and so the cycle of healthy exercise begins.

At times, desire can feel elusive and out of reach. Here are four ways that you can fall back in love with your workouts, fuel your desires and soar into a life of your dreams.

1. Shift the scale

The traditional scale that many of us use when monitoring our success is the scale inside the locker room or on our bathroom floor. This month, I invite you to use a different type of equipment, and it is called your wellness scale. On this scale, you cannot see the numbers but you feel them.

The higher the number on the scale means, the closer you are to moving into a life that brings you happiness and joy. The lower the number on your wellness scale, the closer you are to living in anxiety, self-doubt and fear.

Each time you are going to do a workout, ask yourself, “Does this add joy to my life?” If the answer is yes! Keep doing what you are doing.

You are already doing a workout that you love, whether it is lifting the heavy bar or taking BootyBarre. If time zips by and you find yourself with a smile on your face, do not change a thing.

But if you find yourself dreading going to the gym and while you are there you find yourself looking at the clock or having to force yourself to do one more set or rep, it is time to say “bye-bye” old workout and “hello” to something new.

2. Change the why behind your workout

What are you training for? Why are you working out? What is your motivation for going to the gym?

If the answer has anything to do with losing weight or looking a certain way, I am inviting you to change the why behind your workout.

The media and our mindset have led us to believe that if we exercise to lose weight and look good, we will be a success. Tighten those arms and lift your assets and you will have the life of your dreams. But the dream always stays out of reach.

What would happen if you made the why behind why you go to the gym something bigger than the numbers on the scale? What would happen if you started moving to make your life larger instead of your jean size smaller?

Here is the truth: If you are not happy and in love with who you are today, you will not be in love 10 pounds or a jean size down from now. So why not start loving your imperfect and fabulous self today.

“To say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the ‘I.’”

—Ayn Rand

3. Move your fitness goals to steppingstones

What is something you are looking forward to in the future? Perhaps it is your daughter’s wedding, getting a new puppy, a trip to Paris with your girlfriends or the upcoming birth of your first grandchild.

Whatever excites you, whatever ignites your desires and whatever you are looking forward to in the future, make that your new fitness goal, too.

Perhaps you will need to gain more strength to be able to walk the streets of Paris with ease and maybe you will need to increase your level of fitness to be able to rock the dance floor with your daughter after her wedding, but these fitness goals now become steppingstones to building a vibrant and flourishing life.

When you tie your fitness goals to your dreams and desires, you stop making what you look like the definition of success and start looking at your life experiences as the big win.

4. Mix up the metrics

Fitbits, smartphones and data devices are everywhere. Data can be a fantastic tool for measuring and tracking our progress. The problem arises when we define our sense of self in the world by the data on our wrist.

Data is only data. It has no emotional power until we attach a meaning to it. If the numbers and metrics that pop up during your workout encourage you to push a little harder, beat your yesterday and empower you to do your best, then do not change a thing. However, if the data delivered to you makes you feel like you didn’t do quite as well as you should, reminds you that you are not as young, fast or strong (yadda yadda) as you used to be, and it sucks the dreams and desires out of you—ditch it. Ditch the data or change your relationship to it.

Perhaps twice a week, leave your Fitbit at home or your phone in the locker. Yes, I said to live without your phone for an hour. On these days, instead of tapping your device to get the data, you tap into how you are feeling throughout your exercise program. Let’s take this a step further: Now that you do not have to look down at your wrist or phone, I invite you to look up into the world.

On the days you decide to go with measuring how you are feeling versus the metrics, I also invite you to strengthen your courage muscle. Smile to at least three people in the gym and say at least two “hellos!” Smiling is an act of courage, and you will no longer only be improving your body at the gym but also improving the environment through social contagion. Smiles are contagious, happiness is contagious, and you now become a change agent for joy simply by looking up and saying, “Hello!”

Use this time to get back in touch with what your body is telling you and get back in touch with the people around you.

February is the month to fall in love with your workouts, to begin moving because you love your body and to stop exercising to try to like your body.

Photo credit: Thinkstock, iStock, Rachel_Web_Design.