Begin an exercise program and create a healthy living habit. A daily commitment to your exercise program and goals keeps your spirit alive, your resolve strong and your actions inspired.
We all know physical activity is good for us, right? So Im not going to start with telling you the benefits of exercise.
What I am going to tell you is exercise is awesome and it makes you feel good mentally and physically. Maybe not in the beginning, but if you stick with it, you WILL feel amazing and strong. And, believe it or not, you will get to the point where sometimes that feeling is all the motivation you need to get yourself up and moving.
Making changes in your life isn’t easy and old habits are hard to break, but healthy living and feeling great is worth the time and the effort.
So, are you ready? Here are some of my best tips for beginning an exercise program:
Give Exercise the Priority It Deserves
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Set yourself up for success with clear, concise and measurable goals.
Ask your self what you really want. What is it that you are looking for? What do you want to achieve? Remember, the goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.
After you have set your goals, figure out how much time is going to be required to start – say, for the first couple of months – and where exactly that time will come from:
- How many times a week will you be exercising?
- How long will each session take? Plan for the entire workout time; changing clothes, travel time, to and from, if not working out at home, the workout time, showering, etc. So, a 30-minute workout may need to be scheduled for 45 minutes.
- What days of the week and what time of day will work the best? Look at your calendar. Consider work schedule, kids’ schedule, sleeping, eating, etc. Don’t use special events as an excuse to skip a workout. Plan for them with an alternative day or time.
- Be as specific as possible and mark it on your calendar just like you would a doctors appointment or your kid’s soccer game, not to be missed.
Share Your Goals
Talk about your goals with your friends and family. It may be ucomfortable sharing at first, but keep in mind the people that love and care about you will support your goals and cheer you on.
By talking talking about your goals you gain a fresh perspective which is helpful when you feel like your goal is too much.
Start With Baby Steps
Start slow to succeed rather than trying to do too much and expecting your body to do more than its physically ready to do. Don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself that can lead to injury ad being discouraged when you’re unable to meet those expectations.
Start with your beginning, not with someone else’s end. Increase duration, pace and intensity gradually as your body adapts to the new physical demands of exercise.
It doesn’t matter how slow you start. What’s important is that you start.
Commit To Two Months
Here’s the deal, according to research, the 21 days to create a habit is a myth. Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, conducted a 12-week study to determine just how long it actually takes to form a habit. Lally reported that on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact.
I promise, if you stick with it, you’ll reach that level where exercise feels good and youll actually want to do it. It may be hard to imagine right now, but you will even begin to look forward to it.
Make It Enjoyable
Honestly it’s going to be challenging in the beginning. You’re going to push yourself and it’s going to take effort. Do whatever it takes to make your workouts enjoyable especially in the first few weeks. Let’s face it, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing you’re not going to continue doing doing it for the long term and it’s much harder to motivate yourself to do something you don’t enjoy.
A few ideas to try:
- Create a playlist of your favorite music to listen to while you’re exercising. I’ve included one of my favorites below.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts while.
- Watch your favorite TV show while you’re on the elliptical or treadmill.
- Find a friend get together with to workout or if it’s your thing, sign up for group fitness classes or join a local running/biking club.
- If you prefer to workout alone, make it your “me” time to recharge and re-energize. Consider exercise as your escape.
- Switch up your routine and try new things.
- Take your workout outdoors.
- Join a fitness challenge.
Ditch the Expectation of All or Nothing
Phillipa Lally’s research also found that, “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit forming process. ”Building better habits is no an all or nothing process. You don’t have to be perfect.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes and develop strategies to get back on track based on why you missed the workout.
Track Your Progress
Use a fitness tracker to focus on what you accomplish and to make decisions on if and when you should reassess your plan and/or make adjustments to your goals.
Remember Why You Started
Why did you start working out in the first place? What was your motivation to go for that first run or take that first strength training class? Remind yourself why it was so important to you and revisit that person who was motivated in the beginning to make a commitment.
Also, make sure your why is for the right reason. Michelle Segar, Ph.D., a motivation scientist, reports that, “those who stick to their goals have their reasons based in truly wanting to change their lives in a way that will energize them – not deplete them.”
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Reward yourself when you achieve short-term and long-term goals. Having an extra incentive when you’re feeling unmotivated or tired makes it easier to stick with the plan. And don’t forget, whatever the reward is, you’ve earned it.
Looking for workouts to get started? Try these:
- Healthy & Fit Strength Training Workout
- Beginner’s Bodyweight Workout
- Do Anywhere Superset Total Body Workout
I would love to chat.
What’s your biggest obstacle to healthy living? What’s your favorite way to move your body?
I’m happy to answer any questions you have about starting an exercise plan.
be the best version of YOU