Want to know a secret? When it comes to exercise consistency everyone struggles with it or has struggled with it at some point during their fitness journey. When I was a Personal Trainer, consistency was easier because I spent most of my time in the gym. However, after leaving that job to be an Event Coordinator, exercise became less of a priority. I went from training every day to working out maybe two or three times a week, sometimes I worked out only one day a week.
Workout consistency can be an up and down, back and forth kind of journey. What motivates one person is not the same for another. But, as with anything, the perspective we bring into any challenge during our life will drastically affect our outcome and success. Perspective applies to exercise as well. Although exercise can seem like one of the easiest things in the world compared to everything else going on in our lives, it is still one of the toughest things to get ourselves to actually do sometimes. However, with the right mindset, exercise consistency can be much easier to achieve.
Here are 7 tips to help you shift your perspective and make exercise a habit that sticks.
1. What Do You Want, Really?
If you really want it you will get it. One of the most important tools for helping you stick to exercising is to know your why. Why are you working out? What is it you really want to get out of the effort you will be putting in? Whether your goal is to be leaner, stronger, to relieve stress, feel better at your job, or to support your lifestyle, make sure you have a clear reason why. Once you know your why nothing can stop you from pushing forward.
2. Be REALISTIC About What It Will Take
There is no secret ingredient or magic formula to fat loss and muscle building. However, in order to have a successful healthy lifestyle, certain sacrifices must be made in order to work on your goals. These sacrifices could include going to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier to workout, cutting back on your weekly sugar intake, or feeling uncomfortable as you begin to challenge yourself more in your workouts. A healthy lifestyle takes commitment and perseverance. There is no change without a challenge so be realistic about what your health journey will require of you.
3. Be Flexible and Adaptable
Perfectionism has no place in the gym or on anyone’s fitness journey. If you are always waiting for the perfect time, moment, or the perfect location, you will end up never working out. Remember this, there is no such thing as a wasted activity. If your job leaves you with very little extra time, instead of giving up on exercise because you cannot get in an hour or cannot work out every day, find ways to fit in a fifteen-minute workout a few times a week. Exercise should fit into your lifestyle, not you into it’s.
4. Set Goals
Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. You cannot have a legitimate plan without a goal, and you cannot execute a goal without a plan. Setting small goals throughout your fitness journey is like laying down one stone at a time on your pathway to a healthier lifestyle. Goals are a great way to stay motivated and interested in your workouts. Start by setting daily goals like “today I am going to work out and drink two more cups of water than usual.” Then set a weekly goal such as getting in four full workouts. A monthly goal could be running twenty miles total that month, and a yearly goal could be being able to buy one size smaller in your favorite workout leggings than last year. Make your goals different from your current lifestyle. They should be challenging, yet attainable and achievable.
5. Reward Yourself
Now that you have set your goals you can pick out how you will reward yourself for sticking to them. Having something to look forward to goes a long way when it comes to motivating ourselves to do things that are more challenging and out of our comfort zone. Have your rewards coincide with your goals daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. An example of a daily reward could be a trade-off, if you complete your workout that day then you can watch one episode of your favorite TV show. If you hit all your workouts that week, you could reward yourself by going to see a new movie on the weekend or going to brunch with friends. These are just examples. The important thing is to reward yourself with things you actually will want and enjoy. Otherwise on the days where you do not want to hit your goals, your rewards will not be enough to convince you to keep going.
6. Believe You Will Be Successful
Your body follows your mind. Our mind and physical body are intrinsically connected. A bad mood can affect our whole day and a sick body can affect our mood. Believing in yourself and your abilities and trusting that your hard work will pay off is a crucial element in your health and fitness journey. If you do not give up on yourself, your body will not give up on you.
7. Motivation Is No Longer Your Yes and No
Workout anyway. You know the saying “Mind Over Matter?” Well, in this case, you should do the opposite. Matter Over Mind. The matter is, you want to lose weight and get healthy but in order to do that, there will be times when the excuses in your mind will have to be ignored. You may not always be mentally in your workouts, but show up anyway and just do it.