Remember when you were dating your sweetheart and you couldn’t wait to see him or her? It felt so alive to anticipate the next date and daydream about the excitement you felt when you were with that person. Why not apply that lovey-dovey principle to yourself and your exercise or yoga practice? Goofy? Maybe. But keep an open mind. It may just surprise you how effective these principles are. Here are some practical ways to keep the spark alive in honoring your body through movement. Getting in the Mood Before you start to exercise or do your yoga practice, say at least one of these things to yourself five times or until you start to resonate with it. Notice how you feel about exercise at the end of the week. You may be anticipating rather than dreading exercise because your attitude has shifted. This yoga practice is a way to bless and care for myself. I joyfully partake in giving my body what it needs. I will be happy I did. My body is an amazing miracle, and this exercise serves to enhance it. I choose to focus on my body in a loving, accepting manner during these minutes of exercise. I exercise because I have the ability to and want to. Exercising is my treat to myself as a way to love and take care of me. My yoga practice makes me feel good, strong and powerful. I don’t have to, but I get to exercise right now. (By saying these things to yourself, you put on a new pair of glasses, allowing you to view exercise as a reward instead of as a chore.) A Date with Exercise Here are some tips to develop or renew your affection for yoga/exercise routine: ”¢ Take a dance, pole dance, martial arts or fencing class for fun. Community colleges offer inexpensive classes. Choose something you’ve always been intrigued by. ”¢ If you are out of the habit of doing yoga/exercise, just start small. Promise yourself you will roll out your mat and sit there for two minutes listening to your breath. If you still don’t feel like exercising after that, encourage yourself to try again tomorrow. ”¢ Write down your intention of exercising three times a week for 30 minutes on Post-it® Notes and place them everywhere you will see it. If you don’t write it down, it is likely not to happen. ”¢ Organize a group of friends to exercise with as a way to socialize and keep you accountable. I’ve started a hiking group that helps me enjoy the outdoors and catch up with friends. ”¢ Schedule your exercise time on Sunday for the entire week. Add it to your calendar like you would a doctor’s appointment or a meeting at work. It is just as important as these other “must-do” appointments. I like to view them as spa treatments. I wouldn’t blow off a massage! ”¢ Hire a personal trainer or yoga/Pilates private coach for at least a month to get you in the habit of feeling your body move. It is okay to pay a trainer just to get you to show up to the gym. They make it fun and take the intimidation out of doing something new. Soon you won’t need it. See the expense as an investment in a priceless, rare commodity”¦you! ”¢ Join a fundraising 5k run/walk. Find a cause you believe in. You’ll not only feel good about giving to help someone else, but you’re also giving back to yourself in the time you’ve spent training and getting yourself in the healthy habit of exercise. ”¢ Avoid wearing sloppy, oversized T-shirts and sweats to workout in. Splurge and go find yourself some flattering workout wear. It will help you feel better about your workouts. ”¢ Even if you only have 10 minutes to exercise, do it. Just because you can’t do a whole hour, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting benefits. ”¢ Add more movement in your daily life. Park far away from the store and spend your time walking rather than circling for that closer parking space. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Add some spice to your date or family night by skipping the typical dinner and a movie and go to the local ice skating rink, take a bike ride, roller blade, or go line dancing. ”¢ Reward yourself after a month of 30-minute, three-times-a-week exercise with a nonfood treat: massage, new shoes or a weekend away. ”¢ Rewire the names you use for exercise. When you talk about it, call it spa time, playtime or me time. I emphasize doing some kind of enjoyable exercise at least three times a week, not only because you need to be a certain weight to maintain optimal health, but as an opportunity to care for yourself and give you confidence being in your body. No one will take care of you but you. Now is the time to give your body what it is pleading for. When you are at the weight that is right for your body, you won’t be struggling to keep it off. The results come lovingly and organically by listening and rewarding your body with movement. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle Lanee Neil has been a private trainer in Los Angeles for seven years. She is the author of two soon-to-be published books, “The Real Weight is Over” and “Exposed””Insights to Loving Your Body from the Celebrities you Love.” She offers body confidence consultations and functional personal training. Contact Lanee at laneelee.com.