If you take a brief moment to think about all your friends, family, work colleges and anyone else you know, how many of these people have exercised consistently for the past 5, 10 or 20 years. I’m talking week-in week-out all year round. My guess is probably no more than a handful. So why is that? And how can you too be one of those very few that do actually maintain an exercise program LIFELONG!!
For myself I have now been exercising for 21 years (non-stop). I’ve been a personal trainer for 14 years and have seen sooo many people slip in and out of regular exercising. From my own experiences and observations of others I have pinpointed five key things that are of essential importance to cementing exercise into your life forever…..
- Find something you enjoy – if you hate running, but force yourself to do it, you’ll end up creating a negative mindset towards exercise and sooner or later you will no doubt give it up. There are soooo many different forms of exercise out there to choose from. If you love the outdoors, do it there. If you are social and like the comradery of exercising along side others, try a bootcamp. If you prefer a more gentle approach, try water aerobics. The possibilities are endless.
- Do it even when you don’t feel like it – exercising when you are motivated is EASY. But to truly make it a life long habit, you have to do it regardless of how you feel at the time. We all go through periods of feeling unmotivated, tired, busy and/or just can’t be bothered. These are the CRITICAL times when you need to keep the routine going, because this is the exact time when you’re at the greatest risk of breaking your momentum and falling out of the habit. Don’t give yourself the option of opting out. Just go on autopilot. This is without a doubt the single most import piece of advice I could give anyone regarding motivation.
- All or nothing attitude generally always ends in nothing – putting huge amounts of pressure on yourself, exercising like a mad man and trying to be 100% perfect can produce amazing results, in the short term. But generally, going 100% bull at a gate is impossible to maintain long term and once that initial momentum starts to die off it’s often followed with doing the exact opposite….NOTHING! Remember slow and steady wins the race.
- Be commited to finding a way to fit it in rather than finding a reason to justify why you can’t – when we initially set our goals of exercising X amount of times per week, we often think about our usual normal week and activities and how we’d fit it in amongst them. In life we often get “curve balls” and situations, occasions and other unforeseeable things that pop up into the mix and create challenges to fitting in your exercise. It’s easy to justify missing your usual Tuesday night gym workout because you didn’t want to miss your daughter’s graduation. But couldn’t you also have skipped watching tv the night before for an hour, gone to bed one hour earlier, woken up one hour earlier and still got that workout in and not miss out on the graduation either.?
- Put it at the top of your priority list – I know this might sound crazy but if it’s at the top of the list, yes that’s above your kids, work, school, partner or anything else super important to you I guarantee you will do it (in addition to the other things as well). If I said you can have what ever you want in this world, whether it be $10,000,000 cash, world peace, perfect health forever for you and your loved ones or absolutely anything else , but the catch was that you had to exercise three times per week for the next ten years do you think you could find a way to fit it in no matter what? As the old saying goes where there is a will there is a way.