HOW TO STICK WITH YOUR WORKOUTS
4 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS
Sticking to a workout program can be tough. We have good intentions – we know that regular exercise is good for all aspects of your like. And we all know people who are on-again, off-again with their fitness routine. And I get it; life gets busy. Bills, kids, significant others, work, social life, a house to keep up, etc.. So many priorities it makes our head spin! But, some people still manage to establish a routine and stick with it for a ridiculously long time. People are able to live a busy life AND stay in shape. How do they do it? Did they get lucky? Is it an incredible amount of discipline? I assure you, it has nothing to do with any super human powers. So, below are 4, tangible, implementable actions I feel will make the biggest difference in your ability to stay with the program. Read on, and then make some small steps in the right direction.
Plan it. Put it in your calendar.
First and foremost, plan your week and workout schedule. The simple act of scheduling training time in your calendar helps to make up your mind that you’re going to do it. If you don’t have a calendar, get one. If you are bad at using your current calendar, ask for accountability help. Planning to do it is powerful. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s just that simple.
You have to understand that you cannot succeed without a plan. The plan can, and will be, adjusted along the way but it’s important to just get started. The next part of that plan is you then have stick to it, and keep those appointments. This will be hard at first, especially in the first couple weeks. But once you build the habit of working out, it will start to get easier. By keeping your workout appointments, and therefore sticking to your plan, your plan will begin to start working for you. This is the point when most people begin to see real change; not only in their fitness, but also their personal life. I’m not going to spend time on this, but winning in one area will begin to spill over into other areas of your life. Work or career, relationships, sleep quality, will all improve from the mental and emotional strength you get from sticking with the program. Not to mention that you’re getting fitter and feeling better so your energy levels are also going up. It’s all very empowering. Plan it. Put it in your calendar.
Focus on Habits; not Goals.
Goals are great – and necessary. However, the challenge with goals is that once the goal is reached, motivation can wain. A good example would be; you want to lose 15 pounds before your Caribbean cruise. You’ve got 2 months, 15 pounds to go, and will work out 4 days per week. The plan is straightforward, and you crush it. Sweating, running, lifting weights and toning up! Salads for lunch and dinner. You didn’t even eat the cake at your 4 year olds’ birthday party. The cruise deadline comes and you look better! Lost 16 pounds! So, on the cruise and you take some well-deserved rest. You even have some drinks and rum cake.
It’s now back to reality and you figure you need a week rest from all the cruising fun. You’ll get back to the gym next week. You have fried chicken for lunch. You look at the weight scale next week and you’ve gained 8 pounds! But you still weigh less than you did a couple months ago, so it’s not so bad. Work gets busy and you skip another week in the gym. Before you know it, you don’t have any new goals, so you never get back at. Until your next vacation, of course. A constant up and down of training, and therefore a constant up and down of fitness. This is what setting goals and not having lifestyle habits can potentially do to you. That’s why I recommend to everyone to focus on habits, not goals. Developing the habits of a healthy lifestyle will bring you continued success over the span of your life. Habits are formed over months and years – in small, daily increments. Making choices consistently over a period of time will start to make those daily decisions a habit. Then you just have to maintain those habits when life throws a curveball at you. So what’s the best way to go about getting these daily habits started? Have you ever built a snowman? Start small and build some momentum. Get some input from your coach on what habits you can, or need, to start first. Pick one, whichever one you believe you can do, and do it for at least three weeks. After three weeks it should become easier. If at that point you feel confident enough, add in another habit. If after three weeks your feeling confident, add another, and so on and so forth. If at some point you begin to falter, drop the most recent habit until you gain control again and then can continue the process. You may also find that three weeks is too soon – that’s ok, because the plan can change. Just decide what time frame is best for you. It could be a couple more weeks, or a couple of months. It’s your journey – just be sure to keep going. You will be amazed how much you can change in a year with this simple strategy. Over time, the commitment to daily habits will change you into the person you want to be. FOCUS ON HABITS, NOT GOALS
Make Friends That Workout
You NEED friends that workout to be able to stay on your fitness journey. How do I know this? Let’s say you go to the gym by yourself 5 days per week for an hour each time. With 168 hours in the week that leaves 163 hours you can spend with people that are either helping achieve your goals, or they can be pulling you away from those goals. They probably love you just the way you are. People you work with, family, friends. They aren’t bad people, fitness just isn’t that important to most of them, so by default they can pull you in the other direction. Away from a healthy lifestyle. Away from whom you want to become.
So, what I’m saying is you need friends who are working towards a healthy lifestyle. Better yet – group fitness like CrossFit will introduce you to like-minded people who also have fitness goals! Wouldn’t it be nice to share some of those 168 hours each week with people that have similar goals to you? Someone who will tell you that you can do it – and who are doing it with you! It’s one of the biggest factors in one’s success in almost any aspect of life; family, work, or leisure. MAKE FRIENDS THAT WORKOUT. And workout with them!
Remember Why You Are Doing It
Your WHY is the number one determining factor if you’re going to make it in the beginning. It will be what you go back to and think about when you’re trying to talk yourself out of tomorrow’s workout. Your why is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Why do you want to be fit? Figuring out your true “why” is like “pealing the onion”, because you have to keep pulling back the layers in your why. The initial answer most of the time is never the real why. Things like to lose weight, have more energy, and look good in the mirror, are rarely if ever the real reason for making a lifestyle change.
The real reason lays a few layers below that. What do I mean? Take the goal to lose weight, for example. An athlete may give me that response for their reason to workout. I would then ask the simple question, why? A typical response to that would be, “well, I guess I want to look better”. Great. Why do you want to look better? After some thought, “I guess I want to look better so I feel more confident”. Awesome, why do you want feel more confident? It sounds like a dumb question, doesn’t it? Everyone wants to feel more confident. Why ask why? Sadly, more times than not, the peeling of the onion stops here for most people. In order to answer this question they have to get really honest with themselves, and most people are not comfortable with that. If you don’t answer these deeper “why” questions, nothing happens. You stay the same emotionally, and therefore you stay the same physically. So if you’re going to make a real change this time, you’re going to have to get super honest with yourself. Dig into what you really want, and why you want it. Keep asking why until you find your answers. This is a tough assignment, but it must be done if you really want to make it on your fitness journey. REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE DOING IT. Once you have your answer for why you want to stick to a workout routine, the emotion of those things will carry you mentally when you want to stop. It will put some fire in your belly. So if you hit a tough spot, remember why you started in the first place and the emotion of your why, and do what you need to do that day to get the win.
Well there you have it. I hope this helped clarify what it really takes to develop long lasting health and fitness habits. If you want to reach out to me with any questions, I’m happy to help. Email or call: firstname.lastname@example.org | 816-659-3076
Nick Prohaska | KCI CrossFit | 816-659-3076 | email@example.com