Thinking about how to stick to an exercise routine can be quite tough. It’s far easier to make New Year’s fitness resolutions as opposed to finding the sustained exercise motivation to keep them. We all have the best intentions out there on 1 January and then as the year rolls on, we lose steam, confidence as well as motivation.
What seemed so achievable just days or weeks ago — going to the gym five days a week or running a half marathon — can somehow morph into something impossible. And while it’s simple to blame our loss of focus on life happening, perhaps the biggest threat to a realistic resolution is the narrative that plays in our heads.
There are a number of different things to think about when you’re easing back into an exercise routine if you’ve been taking a break for the last couple of weeks, months, or even years. We know what’s up when it comes to getting adjusted and avoiding injury. Here are several things to keep in mind as you kick-start your new fitness journey.
Begin By Scheduling Just Three Workouts A Week At Times Which Are Convenient
As you get started with your exercise routine, think about long-term consistency. A wonderful question to ask yourself is, ‘How many days a week can you truthfully fit your exercise routine into your life?’ Ideally, you will need to work yourself up to 4-5 days a week however you definitely don’t have to START there if that’s too overwhelming.
Start by scheduling only two-three workouts a week. They can be short 30 minute interval training workouts, weight lifting sessions or yoga in the beginning. Really it is the HABIT you are creating, not necessarily the workouts specifically. Establishing a realistic goal is key to sticking to it, and since you’ll almost certainly be sore after your first one or two workouts, this means you’ll have a couple of days to recover in-between workouts.
In addition, it’s important to plan your workouts at the most convenient times possible. For example, if you know you’re always exhausted at the end of a workday, it’s probably not ideal to plan a 7 P.M. workout. You’re going to skip it and feel defeated. You may just have to bite the bullet and wake up an hour earlier – even if you’re not a morning person. Set yourself up for success by choosing days and times you can really commit to.
Be Patient And Make Sure You Play The Long Game
At the start of every year, there is that frenzy to achieve your fitness goals. In the midst of this frenzy, it’s easy to be expecting instant results. You put in the hard work at the gym for a week or so and are then disappointed when you aren’t yet able to do a perfect push-up. In reality, however, dependent on your current fitness level, achieving the push-up may take weeks or even months of hard, steady work. This divide between expectation and reality can be seriously demotivating.
Do The Exercises You Want
If the notion of signing up for a class or hitting the treadmill fills you with absolute dread, you’re far more likely to put it off or give up altogether. Increasing your activity level by doing something that you like and gradually building up the intensity is a phenomenal way to stay consistent with your exercise routine.
Have A Game Plan For When You’re Not Feeling Motivated
Even if you’re incredibly dedicated to your new exercise routine, some days motivation alone just won’t cut it. Create an internal insurance policy with a friend. Even if they’re not actually working out with you (which is the best plan), perhaps you are able to fill them in on your workout plans and check in with them so they can be your support system.
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