Even though we know exercise is good for us, it can be difficult to make it a priority in the crazy comings and goings of life. I like to think that I’m speaking from experience as a girl who works full time, runs a blog on the side, and has a ten month old – but I know that these days, a busy lifestyle is incredibly common.
I feel like I’ve tried everything from early morning sweat sessions to leaving it for the end of the workday, or even saving it for the weekends. There is always something else that I’d rather be doing. So, in hopes of discovering some renewed motivation, I have researched the ultimate tricks to overcome exercise hesitation and procrastination…
1. Make consistency your goal.
It’s natural to strive for a physical transformation, but since results are rarely seen overnight, frustration can surface early – especially in a new workout routine. I find that if I reward myself for consistency, or a certain number of exercise sessions in a row, that I’m much more likely to stick with it for the long haul.
The great thing about this tip is that changing your mindset is easy! Make your goal to work out three times per week, not to lose three pounds per week. You will enjoy the benefits and the resulting physical changes that come along with regular exercise and the relieved pressure of immediate results will help to keep a workout as part of your routine for much longer.
2. Make it fun!
Finding a workout regimen that both you and your body enjoy can seem like the hunt for the Holy Grail and with so many trendy exercise options on the scene, it can be hard to know where to invest your time and your money. The good news is that many studios and gyms offer free trials, so you can bounce around to different classes and fitness settings to find one (or more!) that you really love.
Over the years, I have tried everything from spin classes to circuit training, Body Pump to Zumba and everything in between, but I kept returning to my yoga mat. Not only does it center and calm me, but also consistent classes have truly transformed my body. I feel incredibly lucky to have found a workout regimen that I look forward to and one that my body responds to as well.
3. Keep a record.
Fitness trackers may be all the rage, but there’s a lot to be said for just jotting down your exercise accomplishments. Make note of what you did, how long you did it for and be sure to highlight any goals reached or new personal bests. I love to flip through my paper calendar and review my physical achievements. Not only does this tip encourage the consistency that will bring results, but a look back at where you started and how far you’ve come can be incredibly motivating.
4. Start Small.
Ironically, this is a big one. More often than not, we sprint out of the gate and burn out too quickly from injury or exhaustion. I can’t tell you how many times I pushed myself too far to keep up with the near-professional yogi to my left. It was hard for me to keep my eyes on my own mat and find comfort in doing the modified poses for beginners every once in awhile, but once I got the hang of it, I felt much more accomplished after every stretch session.
It goes without saying that we are all at varying fitness levels, with our own personal goals. Only you know how much your body can handle, so don’t feel the pressure to be a superstar on day one. Look for the small wins in each workout and go at your own pace. This will ensure that you don’t get frustrated or discouraged.
5. Leave your watch at home.
Clock watching is the ultimate in exercise sabotage. There’s no rule that says every workout must last for thirty minutes and you’ll feel less pressure if you leave your options open ended rather than heading out the door knowing that you’re in for 60 minutes of pain. My favorite thing to do is to throw on my sneakers and walk my favorite loop. I can always pick up the pace if I want to get home faster, but going for distance and not time can really help me stay consistent.
If you’re a gym rat, this tip applies there as well. Make sure to throw a towel over that treadmill timer or ask your fitness instructor to turn the clock around in the studio. Every minute of exercise counts and if you’re focused on breathing and form as opposed to how many excruciating seconds you have remaining, you will be a much happier and a much more successful exerciser.
What are your tricks for keeping up with your workout routine and getting it done when you’d rather do anything else?