Everyone has good intentions. The challenge is following through with them. How do you pull yourself out of the rut you are caught in to make new habits that stick and serve you rather than pulling you down? Repetition lays the foundation for a habit, some people say it takes 3 weeks others 3 months, but repetition is the key. Somehow you have to get past that critical number of repetitions of whatever you want to make a habit. This is the true work of change. I could talk a bit on this topic, but for those of you looking to have the quick and dirty “cheats“ of how to get through this stage I am offering a top five.
- Try something different. Maybe for years you have been paying gym memberships, only to attend regularly for a week…then not so regularly for a month…then not at all. This obviously doesn’t work for you. Stop beating your head against a wall and do something different that will achieve the same goals. Join a group class, try working with a trainer, workout outdoors, try a sport you have always dreamed of …there are tonnes of alternatives; all you have to do is open your mind. Whatever your choice make sure it is something that lights your fire, something you enjoy…enjoyment is way easier to make a habit of. Maybe you need to can the gym membership and start belly dancing or join a kayaking club?
- Sign up for a race or competition. If you have paid entrance fee months in advance for something, told your friends and family you are doing it you are far more likely to train and actually do what you set out to do. The people around you will hold you accountable. Maybe try one of the charity events that require you to raise money…you couldn’t let down them could you?
- Plan. This sounds so silly but so few people actually do it. Plan your workouts and your days at least a month in advance. If you have something scheduled in you know you will do it. For example maybe you usually “try” to get your workout in after work, but work runs late, the roads or bad, you are exhausted…so you don’t get your exercise in. This is a scheduling/planning problem. Try changing the time of day you schedule your exercise in to a time that won’t get invaded on by other commitments…early morning exercise is an awesome way to do this. Get to bed earlier and get up earlier. Don’t just plan your activity; plan for contingencies to problems that might come up. For example:
- Have spare workout gear at your office or in your car; this way if you forget it at home you have no excuse.
- When the gym changes hours for some reason or your class is cancelled, make it a day for an outdoor bootcamp or a home exercise video. There is a plethora of information on the net to help you figure something else to do.
- You have an appt right after work that you can’t miss…plan ahead to make this a scheduled rest day or try sneaking in a 20 minutes of high intensity play either before work or at lunch.
- Your spouse has to go out and you have the kids….a great opportunity for some fun time with the kids. Go to the playground and play hard. Tag, hide and seek or other inventive games keep you moving and the kids thrilled.
- If you are feeling unmotivated l pull on your gym clothes anyway and do 15 minutes worth of movement…odds are once you get going you will want to keep going.
4. Keep your goals visible. What is it that you hope to achieve? Is it weight loss, an event, time/pace? First make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timed). If you need more on this check some of my historic blogs on this topic. Everyday write down your goals and every day measure your progress towards them. This way you will keep what is important to you in the forefront of your mind and know exactly how far you need to go to get there. You will be inspired by progress and know to put your nose to the grindstone if you are lagging. Paste your goals, or a symbol of them somewhere you will see them every day, on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
5. Find a partner. Look for someone you can share your journey with, someone you can depend on and that can depend on you. You can chart your progress together; maybe keep the juices flowing with some healthy competition. Often the best person for this is your spouse. This way exercise is also quality couple time. Single and new in town??? Try joining a sport club. It is a great way to meet new people, make friends and stay active. Running groups are very common; locally the Running Room has excellent programs with minimal costs.
Hopefully these words have given you new ammunition to fight your way out of a rut. If you are super stuck try chatting with a reputable trainer. Often if you have a gym membership you have access to someone as part of your gym membership. Also you might want to make the investment to get someone to help you if you think of it how often do you actually invest in your well being??? Isn’t investing in your health and welfare worth it?