With the exception of a few die-hard fans of self-torture, most of us struggle to maintain a regular exercise routine. With over-scheduled lives, multi-tasking gone mad, and the ADHD/OCD that plagues most of us to build Rome in half a day, hitting the gym or the pavement is usually what we toss aside to make room for everything else we wish to accomplish.
But as busy as we are, making fitness a priority will help us do everything else even better. In my experience, what makes us most successful at “getting stuff done” is our motivation and focus to to just that. And when we feel energized and accomplished (which exercise almost always helps us feel), we are more apt to be motivated to do things.
It is hard to make that time, though. I speak from personal experience. So I decided to come up with a list of tricks that have helped me when I was in slump (or what I have seen work for others).
1. Don’t worry about having a daily schedule, but make a weekly schedule.
The problem I see people run into is they say they are going to exercise M-F at 5 pm (after work, perhaps). But they don’t factor in the times that they have meetings, scheduled evening events, etc.. So they just keep missing planned workouts until they fall out of the habit. It is better to look at your week and pick different times to exercise based on what you have planned for each day. But definitely pick a time each day.
2. Start an exercise blog
When we journal, we tend to be more invested in our lives, or what we are doing. Creating a simple blog where you can post a quick blurb about your daily workout, what you ate that day, how you felt, or you can even take pictures… It will help you feel like you are on a journey, writing your own story about your fitness accomplishments, and will help you feel more committed to what you are doing.
3. Buy a new exercise outfit, BEFORE you start exercising, not as a reward (OK, so this may apply to primarily women, but it works)
As I always say, the best therapy is spelled R-E-T-A-I-L. At certain times in my life where I was really struggling to get back to exercise after falling off the wagon, I would take myself out to by a new pair of workout capris or outfit and it mentally put me in the place I needed to be; ready and excited to exercise.
4. Build a social network of fitness enthusiasts
Join a community of people just like you trying to incorporate more activity into their lives. You can start by doing a search for fitness bloggers. Typically, these are people who follow my advice in #2, and want to chronicle their journey through fitness. Twitter and Pinterest are great places to do this.
5. Create multiple playlists on you iPod, for different types of workouts.
If you know just one thing about me it’s that I believe there is no life without music (and no workout without it, either). When I need to get myself to back to exercise, I sit down and create fun playlists specifically for my different workouts. Once I start picking my favorite songs to motivate me during a run or weight routine, even planning out the bell curve of my workout, I feel more connected to the idea that I am, in fact, going to exercise later that day or the next. It’s one more thing to do to mentally prep for exercise.