Here’s how to keep working out.
It’s always fun to start something new. You start a new class, set a new goal, or discover a new physical activity (rock climbing, anyone?), and getting started is so satisfying.
But after a few days, your new adventure becomes routine. That, my friend, is where the danger lies.
If you want to be successful, try these things to make it happen.
1. Begin with the end in mind. This is good advice for any project, and it applies to working out as well. Write down or visualize your desired results. Imagine how you’ll feel after a week, a month, three months, six months, and a year of quality self-care. If it will help, make yourself a collage or a poster with your goals on it and put it somewhere you’ll look every day.
2. Set an alarm. It’s 2018, and we all have all kinds of gizmos that will beep, buzz, and chime at us whenever we want them to. Alarms aren’t just for waking up anymore. I have an alarm for going to bed, one for taking the kids to gymnastics, one for picking them up from school, one for practicing copywriting (weird, huh?), and one for working out. You’ve got the devices. This is a worthy way to take advantage of that futuristic tech.
3. Go for the streak (and the prize at the end). There are a few ways to do this. There are free apps available that will remind you to workout and keep track of your streak. (Coach.me is one example.) Or you could make yourself a good, old-fashioned sticker chart. (This is a great choice if you have kids that will nag you to earn a sticker for the day.) Don’t forget to set a goal and reward yourself for meeting it.
4. Have a trigger. (No, not the kind that needs a warning.) This is some event that happens every day (like dropping your kids off at school, waking up, or having breakfast). When you work out every time that trigger happens, it will become a habit.
5. Have a daily reward. It doesn’t have to be big; it just has to be something you enjoy and can repeat every time you work out. It also has to be healthy so you don’t sabotage your efforts. For example, you could enjoy a sparkling water or a green smoothie after every workout. Rewards can be small, but when they’re in place and consistent, a habit forms.
6. Shake it up. Bored with your workout? Do something different. Changing it up is good for keeping your muscles happy and avoiding injury, too.
7. Schedule rest days. It’s important to rest or take it slow at least once a week to avoid injury. But remember these days should be scheduled in advance so you don’t mess with your amazing streak! Taking an unscheduled rest day can really upset your balance. (Of course, always remember to listen to your body and add rest time if you need to. Staying safe is more important than any sticker chart.)
8. When you fall, get back up. It’s tempting to give up when you feel down. "I didn't work out this morning so my streak is already broken. Why bother getting up early?" Be careful! This kind of thinking can destroy everything you've worked for. If you miss a day, don't stress about it. Just get back to it tomorrow.
9. Share your plan with someone who loves you. Telling someone who cares about you what you expect of yourself can help. If they know what you want for yourself, they can check in from time to time and encourage you. And since they know you so well, their calls, texts, and check-ins can be incredibly effective.
10. Have a village. A band of like-minded friends can make all the difference in whether you show up or stay at home in your pajamas. (May I recommend a FIT4MOM class so you can work out with moms who want all the same things you do?)
There you go. Ten things you can put in place right now to achieve all your wildest fitness dreams. Ready, set, go.