Saturday, August 29, 2009

Simple Steps to Jump Start the Exercise Habit

Not surprisingly, when I am talking with people and they find out I am a personal trainer, inevitably people will admit that "I really just don't want to exercise. I know I should I just don't want to."

I know exercising is not the easiest habit to get into. Even I have my days when I really don't want to workout. For many people the experience of starting and stopping and starting again with little or no results can be discouraging. There are many reasons people have trouble making exercise a regular habit, some may be:

1) Too difficult. People start off very ambitious and with a lot of enthusiasm and set a goal that becomes to big. The goal becomes too difficult to sustain for very long. They run out of energy and enthusiasm and ultimately give up.

2) Too many goals. People start out doing too much, too soon. Having too many goals can cause a person to lose focus, we get so caught up in one, we forget about the others.

3) Not enough motivation. 9 times out of 10, the problem people have is not lack of discipline, but lack of motivation. In my opinion, the most powerful motivators are keeping a log of your activities and reporting to your peers.

If some of these reasons apply to you, you may be wondering how can I overcome them. My advice to you is simplicity. Keep it simple.

1) Set easy goals and write them down. Post them where you can see them. Make the goal easy so you can attain it and want to set other goals and build on them.

2) Make the goal specific. Rather than saying I'm going to exercise everyday. Say you are going to walk 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:00pm.

3) Find a "trigger" that will help you exercise. What will you do or what will happen right before you start your exercise routine. Whether it is immediately after you get up in the morning or get home at night from work. It could be after you've had your morning coffee. It should be a trigger that occurs everyday. One that reminds you, OK its time to exercise now.

4) Make the goal measurable. You should be able to write or say I did 10 push ups, walked around the block, etc. The goal should have a number you can shoot for.

5) Start a log. Writing down what you have done will allow you to see your progress and keep you motivated to continue. Log everyday as soon as you complete your activity so it becomes a habit. Keep it simple. Log what, when, where.

6) Report to others. Accountability is key. When you have someone you are reporting to about what you did, or you are meeting with a person or group of people you are much more likely to stay with the program. That's where a personal trainer comes in handy.

7) Motivation. Whatever it takes to motivate you, do it. Put it into place.

Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. It takes time, consistency and patience. Stay with it, keep working at it work with a trainer or friend and before you know it, you'll be saying to your friends and family "Yeah, I exercise regularly and I love it".

Here's to being fit, being healthy and being happy.


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