Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Habit: an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become
almost involuntary (Dictionary.com)
I think of a habit kind of like a ritual. Something that you do regularly, that becomes a part of your life. You might even start to enjoy it. You may not realise it's become an important part of your life until you travel or get sick, and you actually miss it!
And you might be thinking, but I hate exercise. I have no athletic ability. I’ve got nothing to wear. I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t know what to do or where to start.
I want you to know that you’re not alone.
We all start somewhere. Unless you’re one of those people that played sport in high school, became a sports coach, PE teacher or personal trainer and stayed fit forever... we all know one.
But that’s 1 out of a hundred and the rest of us have been through times where we’ve gained weight, got sick, stopped exercising, injured ourselves, etc. etc.
So just about everyone, wherever you go to exercise, has started at the beginning. Probably multiple times. Just like you.
My first question is: do you even like the word “exercise”? Would it help you to change it to movement or fitness or training? Do what you need to do to make it sit right in your mind. Less daunting maybe.
Now, what do you want to do for exercise?
If that’s walk around your yard 8 times a day, then do it. If you want to dance, do it. If you want to do yoga in your nightie, do that. If you want to take a class or do something new, but you’re scared, talk to the instructor or do a one-on-one session to get the basics before throwing yourself in with a group.
You know yourself best, so what would motivate you? Here's a few ideas:
You could put yourself out there and make a financial commitment, such as buy a gym membership, sign up to a program or classes. If that type of investment is meaningful to you and you will feel more committed to going, then do that.
You could ask a friend or family member to do something with you. That may be going for a walk in the afternoon or going to a class together. You never know, those around you might be more willing to do something about their health if they had a buddy too. And accountability can be a driving factor to actually show up.
The most important tip is to plan it out. This is about making the path so easy, you don’t even have to think about it. While it is a new habit and it will be out of the ordinary for your normal routine, it doesn’t mean it has to feel HARD.
Firstly, put it in your diary/calendar/phone when you will be attending your exercise for the week. That is your commitment to yourself.
Can you think of anything that may come up or happen that would prevent you from completing that session? If so, make a plan B.
Now, do things to make that path simple and straightforward. This might be:
Filling up a water bottle and putting it in the fridge.
Prepping your gym bag.
Setting your alarm.
Save some YouTube exercise videos to your Watch Later.
Set up a corner of your house with your workout gear.
Buy workout gear if necessary.
Download awesome playlists.
Putting your clothes and shoes right next to your bed.
Whatever it is that will make this new habit easier, do it. The floor is all yours, my love.
And lastly, plan it out again for next week. Make sure you schedule in rest days. You will wear yourself out if you don't take time to recharge.
To form a habit, it takes 66 days. The 21 day thing is a myth, 66 days has proven results in actual lifestyle change.
In fact, my advice is to have your end goal in mind, such as “I will be walking 4 times a week for 40 minutes in 12 weeks time.”. And work backwards from there. This week start with 2 walks for 20 minutes. Next week, do 3 walks for 20 minutes. Increase this to reach your goal in the 12 weeks’ time. This will improve your confidence and not feel like a HUGE lifestyle change right at the get-go.
If you would like help with this, such as having somebody for accountability, message me. I know how hard it is to start but I promise, once you do, it will be fantastic. I can be your cheerleader, support system, a shoulder to cry on, tough love coach… whatever you need. I am here to help you succeed. But only if you're ready to make that change.