The start of January brings on a busy gym season. This happens for a couple of reasons: 1) New Year’s resolutions are in full swing and people are still determined and 2) people are realizing that the summer body they are dreaming of needs to be ready in about 5 months. As much as we tell ourselves “I’m so determined this time, I’m going to do this” or “I’m sticking to my resolution this year,” sometimes we fall off the wagon. There are many ways to help yourself stick to your plans and turn exercise into a need and a habit instead of something you think you can just do later.
Here are 5 tips for helping you turn exercise from meh to yes:
1) Schedule: Selecting the same time everyday to do some sort of exercise can help. When you are implementing exercise into your regular routine, keeping consistent will help you to drag your butt to the gym. With keeping a schedule, the goal is to eventually get to the point where your day does not feel complete without an exercise session. Some businesses now are allowing slightly longer lunch breaks for those who are exercising at lunch, because it is beneficial for their employees and it boosts productivity. So, whether it is first thing in the morning, at lunch, right after work, or in the evening, if you can implement exercise into your regular routine, you are more likely to stick with it.
2) Jot notes: Another tip is to write it down. Putting exercise on each day of your calendar, or even on a sticky note that is on your computer at work, can help get you exercising. You will have no excuse to forget to do it and it will help remind you that exercising is a priority.
3) BFF: Exercising with someone else can help. When working out with someone else, they can drag you to the gym or encourage you to schedule time with them to workout. Having a regular work out buddy can help keep you accountable. For some, even the act of telling others you are trying to work out more can be a source of motivation. Those friends that you mention it to will be asking you “how are the workouts going?” or “are you noticing a difference since you have started working out more?” This interest from other people encourages you to actually workout, so you do not have to lie to your friends about your made up “gains,” or have to admit defeat and explain that you bailed.
4) Scale: Start small. Plan your first exercise session so it is short, sweet, and sweaty of course. When you are exhausted at the end of the day, it is hard to find motivation. If you keep the first workout session short and relatively easy, then it is easier to force yourself to complete it. Once you have conquered a few short and easy workouts, start increasing the time and difficulty, gradually working your way up. In no time, you will have turned exercise into a habit and a challenge, which will make it a little easier to complete everyday.
5) Set Goals: Setting goals is crucial to succeeding in any part of your life, including exercise. Everybody knows you have to be smart when setting goals. But did you know, the goals themselves also have to be SMART? SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Each goal you set, should go through the SMART checklist. Is the goal specific and not too vague? Is it measurable; is there a point where you will know when your goal is achieved? Is it attainable; do you have the proper tools and knowledge to be able to complete the goal? Is the goal relevant; does it apply to what you are trying to do and does it help you get there? And lastly, is the goal timely; every goal needs a timeline and a target date to focus on and work toward.
Some people can make exercising and staying committed to exercise, look so easy; but trust me, they all started out exactly where you are right now. They are proof that with persistence and dedication you can make exercise a habit, and you can become that “gym rat” you have always wanted to be.