According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50% of people over 18 years don´t meet the amount of recommended weekly exercise. If you are one of those people struggling to finally start and keep a regular workout routine, here are some mental hacks to make exercising easier:
1. Think long term
The truth is, no matter how hard you may train, you won´t suddenly lose 20 pounds in a week or go from running 2 miles to running a marathon. Getting stronger mentally as well as physically takes time, so it is important that you set expectations accordingly.
Many people fail at maintaining a regular workout routine simply because they expect too much in too little time, only to be disappointed. It is therefore, necessary that you set realistic expectations and know in advance that any major transformation takes time. Getting in shape is not a one-time thing, but requires constant effort repeated for many months and years.
2. Make health a lifestyle
The reason most diets and New Year`s resolutions fail is because you suddenly expect too much of yourself in too little time. When you want to jump from not working out at all to working out an hour every day, failure is just a matter of time because there is no way you will follow through with that. You get overwhelmed within a matter of days with all the things you suddenly have to do or can´t eat until you give up completely.
The easiest solution for this is to make health a lifestyle – to make exercising and healthy eating fun rather than trying to force yourself to do something that you hate. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations like “I will never eat sweets again” or “I will run 6 miles every day” when you haven´t run before, resolve to make the first steps in the right direction. For example, decide to limit your sugar intake by 50% or start by working out 10 minutes every day. Make it doable in the beginning so that you don´t get overwhelmed.
3. Consistency is key
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Whatever you are trying to accomplish in life, whether that is at your job or in your health, consistency is absolute key! Greatness does not come from one giant event that suddenly transformed your life completely, but rather the little choices you make every day along the journey. Every little decision you make, whether small or big, has an effect on your future.
We often tend to disregard the little choices and instead focus on the big ones, but it is often the small, seemingly inconsequential choices that make or break your success. For example, switching up your daily desert from cake to an apple once does not seem to do much good. But if you repeat this day after day for many months and years, this little decision can have a major impact on your future. Every little decision matters, so make sure you are making the right ones!
4. Hold yourself accountable
Usually, it is way easier to just fail yourself than someone else. Find an accountability partner, one that tracks your progress or, even better, can work out with you. There is nothing more motivating than having a team of people to push you on your way to a stronger and better you! Check out your local running club, find a workout partner at the gym, or simply ask a friend that has been struggling to keep a regular workout routine to join you.
5. Treat yourself right
Anytime you follow through on your commitments, make sure to positively reinforce that by treating yourself well! Whether that is getting a massage after a full week of keeping your diet or a little shopping trip for running three times this week, find something exciting that will reinforce the positive feelings about working out.
6. Set goals
I have found setting goals to be one of the best things do to boost your motivation. Whether it is a certain time you want to run for a 5k or the local half-marathon you finally want to participate in, find a goal that excites you and inspires you to take action! As Tony Robbins said, “People are not lazy, they simply have impotent goals.. that is.. goals that do not inspire them.”
When you find yourself struggling to find motivation, simply find a goal inspiring enough to get you excited and take action immediately!
Previously published on Max Weigand
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