It takes a minimum of 21 days to create a habit and research shows that for most people, the average is more like 66 days. But getting to that 66 days can be a challenge, and many quit their goals for various reasons before the habit sticks.
What motivates one person to get consistent exercise may not necessarily work for someone else. To find out what kind of secondary goal might drive you, ask yourself: What do I enjoy doing? What am I passionate about? Whatever goal you decide upon, make sure it is something you like. Be honest with yourself. If something doesn’t inspire you, it’s not worth pretending it does.
Debi Silber, the Mojo Coach says that the key to establishing a good exercise program and sticking to it, is consistency. Here are 6 tips, from Debi that can help you stay motivated.
1. Exercise in the morning. Otherwise, tasks, chores, responsibilities and fatigue can knock the plan to exercise right off your list of priorities. If you commit to exercising in the morning, you’ll have fewer distractions and will be more consistent at getting your workout in for the day.
Not a morning person? Many of us aren’t. Try making your bedtime earlier (so you’re not skimping on your sleep) and just set the alarm to get up 15-30 minutes earlier the first day. Then exercise a “no snooze button” rule, slowly get out of bed and before you leave your bedroom, put on your workout clothes. This can be a great “mental push” to get your workout in and chances are better that you won’t change your mind or get sidetracked.
2. Have a plan to prevent boredom. You know how you can get bored with the same old routine? Well, so does your body. If you stay with the same exercise routine, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get through it – so you won’t see the results you’re hoping for. Here’s how to be consistent, not boring:
• Have one routine for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and another for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
• Mix it up with a variety of classes, DVDs, running routes or fitness equipment.
• Change the levels of intensity – for example, throw in some sprints on your treadmill, do some plyometric moves, or jump rope.
By creating a plan to keep your routine fresh and challenging, you’ll be more likely to stick with it, stay consistent and see those results you’re after.
3. Set realistic and achievable goals. Your goals should be challenging enough to give you something to strive for, yet realistic enough that you can enjoy the success of achieving them. Feeling like a failure just leads to… well, more failure. Try to see your overall goal of losing 100 pounds (for instance) as the more easy-to-do goal of losing 10 pounds a month. Getting toned is great, but how can you break that down so it doesn’t seem like such a huge mountain to climb?
• Set a yearly goal
• Break that goal down into months
• Break the monthly goal into weekly
• Finally break the weekly goal down into what works daily, in order to reach your ultimate fitness goal
4. Track your progress. If your goal is to lose weight or train for a specific event, find a way to track your progress. This helps you stay motivated and enjoy the feeling of progress along the way.
• Mark days off on a calendar
• Keep a fitness/exercise journal
• Keep a food journal
• Create a system of your own
It doesn’t matter how you track your progress as long as you keep it simple, easy to add to your routine, and easy to see how you’re moving toward your goal. And check out the great apps online that you can download to help you track your progress and keep you motivated.
5. Keep it fun. Did you know that you have a “fitness personality”? Sure you do! Use what you enjoy to create a “uniquely yours” program, one that you find fun and interesting such as:
• A class
• An organized sport
• An assortment of DVDs
• Finding a like-minded fitness buddy
• Loading up your iPod with upbeat songs and hitting the pavement
The more you learn about what makes exercise fun for you, the longer you’ll stick with it and the better your personal results will be. When you can honestly say that you look forward to getting your workout in… you’ll have found your “fitness personality.”
6. Celebrate success. Once you reach a goal, even if it’s a small one, be sure to celebrate! Treat yourself to:
• A new song for your music playlist after each workout
• Some quiet time or downtime
• Personal pleasures like manicures, pedicures, massages, etc.
• Social time for getting together with friends
• New exercise clothes or equipment
It’s so important to recognize your achievements. Take the opportunity to be proud of yourself and encourage yourself to keep moving forward.
Photo from here, with thanks.