5 Steps To Start Exercising Without Failing To Try
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Regular exercise is a habit known to promote optimal health. Maybe you hate it or maybe you love it. But, it is the most valuable habit you can have in your life.
If you already exercise consistently, you definitely know what I mean. But if you have not yet managed to be very active in your daily routine, in this article I have 5 infallible steps for you to start the habit of exercising and turn it into a true permanent habit (guaranteed).
- Define what exercise is for you
The word “exercise” is not very defined, although it may seem otherwise, since exercising can be many things at the same time and can be adapted according to your personal preferences. For example, exercising can be: playing soccer, dancing, running, walking, going to the gym, swimming and a long list of options of all flavors and colors.
Maybe you’ve already tried spinning or zumba class and hated it, or maybe you’ve hurt yourself on your first day of weights. But, that doesn’t mean that all forms of exercise are the same. There are thousands of ways to move your body.
So the main thing is that you define exactly what you want to do , the more specific you can define it, the better!
For example, instead of just saying “I’m going for a walk”, be more specific and your purpose is “I go for a 15 minute walk in the morning in the park on the corner.”
Don’t just ask yourself, what exercise am I going to do? Also ask yourself: where will I do this exercise? How? For how long? At what time of the day? What do I need to do it?
And above all, is what I am proposing realistic? … which takes us to the next step.
2. Start with an easy exercise
When you are about to get into the habit of exercising, the first thing to consider is to start with what you can and be realistic. It is useless to set yourself a very ambitious goal and give up in a short time (or live with sore muscles for a whole week).
Each attempt and failure weakens your self-esteem and generates more mental stamina to begin with. So it is best to simply start with something much easier than what you consider yourself capable of.
If you already exercised before and what you need is to resume it, the strategy of starting with very little applies to you too. If you already have the exercise you are starting out with in mind, take one more look at it and decide if it is realistic to start with that.
I explain myself better:
Let’s say the exercise you’d love to start with is “go to Pilates class.” I love going to class too, but unfortunately taking the first step is likely to be a very big goal.
Look: you have to organize your whole day to get to class on time, prepare your things in advance, go to class, change clothes, take class and uff .. go home.
Rule of thumb: the fewer steps you have between you and exercise time, the better!
So a more realistic option would be to “do 20 minutes of Pilates at home.” Which you could do even in your pajamas and in your living room.
Even easier would be “doing 5 minutes of Pilates at home.” Put your first goal as easy as you can, you will have time to increase the intensity and in this way you will be constant automatically.
Tip: write that goal in the present tense and be as specific as you can with what you will be doing.
>In the afternoon I do strength training for 10 minutes
If you know the exact time and above all where you will be doing it even better (it also has to be a realistic and accessible place for you).
>At 5:00 pm I do strength training for 10 minutes in the park around the corner.
You can even get more and more specific, like this:
>At 5:00 pm I do strength training (3 blocks of 20 reps: push-ups and sit-ups), for a total of 10 minutes in the corner park.
If you write it on paper better, because that sheet will serve as a reminder not to forget . Which brings us to the next step.
3. Choose an activity (that is already a habit) as a reminder
NOTE: It is important not to skip this step.
Surely you are thinking that a reminder will not be necessary, you could never forget to make that short goal that you set for yourself. But you are wrong.
The function of a reminder is not simply to “not forget”, it is also a strong motivator. It generates a certain psychological pressure, and it is key to forming the habit.
Your reminder can be one or many. For example: the sheet of paper you just wrote in the previous point, an alarm on your mobile, a note in your calendar, your sports shoes on the door of the house, etc.
But the best reminder in the world is an activity that is already a habit in your routine.
Rule of thumb: A powerful reminder is a previous activity that is already a habit in your routine.
It is easier for you to achieve your goal successfully if you aim to exercise right after an activity that is already a habit, such as: after brushing your teeth, after morning coffee, after putting the children to bed, after to make the bed, etc.
Once you choose a habit as a reminder you have to write it down and complete your exercise plan.
For example: After my coffee I do strength training for 10 minutes in the park on the corner. The goal is to have an action plan to follow that tells you what to do on a day-to-day basis and not just a goal.
A 2002 British study found that when participants formulated a plan for exactly when and where they would exercise, they were more than 90% likely to achieve it , compared to just 38% of those who had not planned ahead.
Note to self: If you write it down, you have a 90% chance of achieving it.
4. Find a healthy reward
Actually exercise itself has to be your reward. Simply because of the many benefits that you already know how to look good and feel better. In addition, certain substances are naturally produced that generate pleasure and well-being.
However, your brain may not realize all these benefits at first and is just concentrating on how uncomfortable it is … so we need to give that lazy brain a little help with a little reward. In addition, to form the habit it is necessary to have an immediate reward.
But be careful! The rewards trick can be your best ally or your worst enemy,
I’ll explain why:
If you manage to choose a reward for your effort that is aligned with your goals, it will be a motivation to achieve the habit. You can already imagine what would happen if it were the opposite.
If, for example, your reward is to eat a chocolate bar after that exhausting workout. Surely the expected results of the exercise will not be what you are looking for, right?
In many cases, the main reason for preferring unhealthy foods is due to something known as: “ reward psychology .” Which is much more common in beginners who are not motivated by the simple act of exercising and choose to reward themselves with foods that without exercising they would not have eaten.
This stage of the “reward psychology “ is also temporary. Once we get into the habit of exercise, it becomes its own rewards.
A positive reward is one that helps you be more disciplined and think about how good you feel when you’ve finished a workout.
Here are some examples of positive and healthy rewards:
>A relaxing warm shower
>Using a soap with a scent that you like
>Cold water to hydrate you with a touch of lemon
>A stretch with minutes of relaxation just for you
>A piece of fresh fruit of the season
>Listen to your favorite song
>Take your coffee calmly
5. Download your chain of goals online and keep a daily record of your progress
All humans are lousy at remembering. We are deceived by our unconscious and generally tend to overestimate the exercise we do and when we do it.
In order not to overdo it and to see objectively the progress you have made, you have to record it. This also becomes a strong motivator, if you achieved more than 10 days in a row you will not want to stop and go back to day zero. For that, I suggest you use Habitually’s free online goal chain.
What is the goal chain?
It is a free extension for your google chrome browser, in which you can easily record your consistency with the exercise. Each day you will need to record whether or not you met your exercise goal (the plan you wrote).
The goal is not to break the chain of days by meeting your goal. If you succeed, exercise will become a habit in your life almost without realizing it. I am sure that the chain of goals will be an excellent tool to be consistent in exercising.