Can't seem to stick to an exercise regimen? Here are some tips to help you STICK to your program, achieve your goals, and start FEELING better in your skin.
1-- Get real with yourself.
This one is HUGE! So many stumbling blocks to a successful routine are because we tell ourselves what we SHOULD feel, do, want, etc.
When you have a few minutes to think, during that drive to work or in the shower, really get clear on how your body is feeling when you move. Think about what your current movement routine is. Maybe the most movement you get is walking into Target from the parking lot and chasing after your kids during the day. Perhaps you take your dog for a walk or always take the stairs at work. Or maybe you already are good about getting to yoga or the gym so many days a week.
It doesn't matter what the answer is, but knowing where you are starting will help you set reasonable expectations and goals for yourself.
When you do move, how do you feel? Exercise may not always be enjoyable or fun for everyone. In fact, it may be downright uncomfortable, but it should never be painful. If so, you have options- from seeking out professional help from a physical therapist to choosing a different activity. It totally depends on your situation, but whatever you do, don't push through it.
Also, when you're moving, what is your brain telling you? Really listen to that internal chatter. If your brain is consistently saying things like, "Man, I'm going to hurt for a week after this!" or "Oh Lord, when will this end??? SOOO BOOORINNG!" Find something else to do!
You don't HAVE to do yoga just because everyone you know seems to be doing it. Or maybe there's a different style that you'd enjoy more. There are so many different types of movement, and with the internet and YouTube, we have access to so many free and affordable forms of exercise. Do a little research and try something new.
Another consideration is how you feel AFTER you move. If you are feeling run down, losing energy or generally feeling depleted, think about adding in more low and slow workouts that aren't so challenging to your system. If you overstress your body physically, you're likely to start going AWAY from your goals and risk falling off of the wagon altogether.
2-- Set a baby step goal.
People are WAY more likely to continue a behavior if they find a little success to keep them going. However, when it comes to exercise, people usually set unrealistic goals like losing 5 pounds every week or looking Instagram perfect at yoga the first class.
Instead, set a goal that doesn't have anything to do with your body. No weight or inches goals. No goals about lifting this much weight or flying your crow in the first week. Setting goals like getting to the gym 3 days this week or walking for 10 minutes after dinner with my kids 4 days this week are way more empowering because YOU have control over them. When you set a goal that is reliant on your body doing something, you lose some of that control and with it your chance of success drops and your risk of feeling like a failure skyrockets.
So, right this instant, think of ONE thing you can do in the next week that you are at least 80% sure you can achieve.
Write it down. I'll wait :)
3-- Break down your goal into teeny tiny action steps.
Think through the details that go into achieving your goal. Let's say you decide to take a 10 min walk 5 days this week with your kids after dinner. Does that mean you need to start dinner 10 min earlier? Or maybe, bed time is 10 minutes later for your kids. Or perhaps, you leave the dishes to do until after your walk or even bedtime. Make sure you know where your comfortable shoes are and plan time to change out of your work clothes if needed.
Do you need to check the weather? Is it supposed to rain this week? Is there a practice or PTO meeting scheduled? If so, maybe 5 nights a week isn't reasonable, but 3 is. That's ok, too!
Remember, we want you to succeed this first week!
Now you know where you are, where you want to go, and the little steps needed to get there, so go do it. Don't forget to celebrate when you achieve your goal, and then go do it again!