Adopting a healthier lifestyle, losing excess weight, exercising more are all among the most common resolutions people make and break within a matter of days.
If you’re struggling to become more physically active and fit and making it a permanent part of your life, rest assured that millions of people are just like you. We all know exercise is good for us, but we keep reverting to our old ways or never get that fuel we need to start. Don’t be discouraged. Realistically, few people would one day declare “I’m going to lose weight and get fit,” then go jog a few rounds and get it programmed in the daily schedule.
To begin with, you need to have the right mindset. Let’s get started and once and for all, make exercise part and parcel of our lives!
Set goals that matter, make constant reminders.
Each of us would have different motivations to want to exercise. Keep them personal, and identify their significance and positive impact on you. If you tie your goal(s) with another person then take note that it may backfire. This happens when that person or motivation no longer means much to you.
Get a piece of paper and write down your goals and reasons for exercising. Having them down in black and white gets you more invested in your goals. Put up the list in a visible corner of your room, or in your smartphone, somewhere that you frequently look at each day. This serves as a reminder whenever you are tempted to skip your exercise routine.
Use technology to motivate you
Weight loss and increased fitness levels aren’t often immediate. It helps to have a smartphone app keep track on the amount of calories you have burnt or how much your heart rate has improved. Best of all, many of them come with pre-planned work outs and are often free. You may need to experiment with a few before settling on one or two that you really like.
To help those who need that additional push, creative apps like Zombies, Run! and Fitocracy add a little gaming element to make your workout more exciting.
Set up a fitness corner at home
Rain or shine, busy or not, there is no more excuse when you have tools for your exercise right at the foot of your bed. A fitness corner does not require much space, nor does it have to be elaborate. A corner of your room will do, with a face towel, ipod or iphone for your workout music, small portable tools like dumbbells (or water bottles), stretching band, and your workout shoes.
Every night before bed, lay out your exercise clothes. You’re more inclined to carry out your daily fitness activity, or at least be guilt-tripped into doing so, when you see your clothes beckoning to you.
Plan and schedule your workouts
Plans tend to instil a sense of obligation, in contrast to randomly deciding what to do for the day. Schedule your workouts for the month – detailing activities, time and venue. You’ll feel a sense of gratification whenever you complete and cross out each workout.
Get rid of that “all or nothing” mindset
You’d planned to do 10 push ups, but you feel like dying after the third one, so you decide to shelf it and never speak of it again.
You decide to do a run around your estate instead, but it has started raining. Well, there’s no where else you would have space to run, so let’s cancel it.
And that is how people lose motivation to exercise. Exercise does not have to be complex, nor does it have to be strenuous. The first step is always difficult, but a more than difficult start will certainly discourage one from stepping out.
Can’t do the recommended prescription of 45 minutes for the day? Then remember, even 15 minutes is better than none. Jogging too taxing for you? Try brisk walking. Do what you can, then challenge yourself to do better once you have gained traction.
Make it fun
Enjoying what you’re doing makes it easier to persist. If conventional workouts are not your thing, you might enjoy dancing, aerobics, yoga or a sport. You can also add some spice to whatever you are doing, such as using music, or watching television while working out. Some people even listen to audio books while running on the treadmill. And these days, there is Pokemon Go, which has made walking an integral part of the gameplay.
If you often have trouble finishing your workout, do the ones you find most difficult or boring first. You will look forward to the exercises you like better, and you’ll be able to complete the session.
If you’re tired of your routine, don’t be afraid of ditching it for a new one. There are lots of work outs and exercise videos online to give you variety.
Like education, regular exercise is an investment requiring some commitment. But the outcome is often tremendous and far-reaching.
– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine