Most by now realize the benefits of the body getting active exercise. The difficultly becomes doing it consistently. The default excuses being you don’t have the time or the energy, that you lack motivation or are too busy. These are common arguments so you’re not alone: Most will deflect exercise for another day, citing these reasons.
The problem when it comes to these perceived barriers, is that they’re difficult to alter, because they’re true. If you have good intentions while believing that you should exercise more, then how or where are you going to find the time, or magically get the energy, to start exercising more often.
Fitness experts believe that if you’re truly motivated to exercise, then you’ll find the time to do so. What motivation does is follows behavior, so finding a way to get start becomes crucial. The best proven way is modifying your immediate environment.
What’s needed is developing behavioral strategies that you can use to get started, this to maintain consistency, while developing that intrinsic motivation to making exercise a permanent part of your life.
What we schedule is every other obligation, such as work, classes, meetings, getting a haircut, what time the movie starts, making dinner reservations.
We become accustomed to keeping track and remaining organized. There are now a variety of free online sources, such as Google Calendar to keep track.
Writing down a commitment becomes the best way to stay consistent with any type of behavioral change, so note down when you exercise next.
Then Set A Reminder
What we need is some type of stimulus as a reminder. The electronic world now offers options such as syncing your smartphone to an electronic calendar, and then setting up email or text alerts to exercise.
Make the messages meaningful and motivating. You can also place all your workout gear by your bed at night, to serve as a reminder first thing in the morning. Find a workout partner to motivate each other along.
Track Your Workouts
Keep a journal or create a spreadsheet to monitor your progress. When was the last time you exercised, for how long, what intensity, did you make progress. How did you feel during the workout and after.
Once you record detailed data like this, what you’ll become aware of is your consistency and improvement, which is the best way to increase motivation.
Schedule exercising with a friend, as social support is an extremely powerful behavioral change tool. With the support between you two or a group of people, you’ll find additional motivation to not skip a workout, as you don’t want to let each other down.
Use Planned Consequences
Just “feeling good” after a workout isn’t good enough for most to exercise again tomorrow, as most have a problem with being consistent.
The reality is, especially if you’re gradually easing your way back to exercising again, feeling the benefits of working out might not be enough. There’s also no guarantee you’ll feel good after every exercise session.
So use planned consequences instead. Determine with yourself that you can watch TV in the evening, only if you’ve exercised earlier. To make this strategy work, ask someone to help you, such as not giving you the remote control.
This strategy shouldn’t be abused however, and usually more effective during the early stages of behavioral change. Over time, it’s habitual repetition as your fitness begins to improve, you’ll find that you don’t need environmental props.
Reward Congratulate Yourself
Behavior change isn’t an easy process. Constantly be congratulating yourself during and after the exercise. For instance, if you exercise to lose weight, tell yourself, “Today, I took another step towards losing 20 pounds.”
You can either congratulate yourself out loud, provided that it’s appropriate to do so, or you can reward yourself somehow on the great workout you just had.
Start Slow And Smart
What most will do is attack a new exercise program with full enthusiasm and reckless abandonment. Starting these new exercise programs are usually unreasonably ambitious. What results after this sudden intense exercise or restrictive diets, is battling fatigue.
So instead of pushing yourself too hard which kills motivation, set yourself up to succeed. If you’re not currently exercising at all, then commit to just walking a few days a week, this at scheduled times.
If you can accomplish this goal for a few weeks, then you’ll generate the confidence in your ability to stick to a program. This confidence is known as self-efficacy, which is a belief in your ability to engage in a prescribed behavior.
Once your self-efficacy becomes elevated, then consider increasing the time, intensity, or frequency of your workouts.
Give Yourself Various Options
When you schedule your workouts, make sure that you add flexibility into your plan, this to allow yourself to choose which workout that you feel like doing.
What having an option, and making choices does is supports your need for autonomy, which is an excellent way to build a sense of personal control, this over your exercise behavior.
Altering Your Lifestyle
Exercise isn’t just joining that gym and purchasing workout gear, while setting aside 60 minutes. The problem is that exercise is still viewed as an “option,” and goes on the back burner once life gets too busy, or stress sets in.
The solution becomes to finding better excuses to stay more active, which will change your behavior and attitude, altering it so it becomes an ingrained habit.
“Not enough time” is no longer a valid excuse, as you attempt to avoid exercising another day. It needs to become a lifestyle decision. What you need is to find creative ways to alter your mindset, so you won’t make excuses for remaining stagnant.