How To Stick To An Exercise Routine
So here it is – that time of the year when people full of good intentions buy memberships and flood into the gym. The ‘New Year, New Me’ people will devote themselves to a newer, healthier version of themselves. One-third of all New Year’s resolutions will have something to do with health and fitness:
“I want to get Stronger”
“I want to lose weight”
“I want to run a marathon”
“I want to be pain-free”
I give these people all the credit in the world. I love how they all have great intentions because starting a healthy lifestyle positively influences almost every aspect of your life.
Unfortunately, we already know most will fail, and this time next year they will be making the same old resolutions. So for those of you who are looking to get stronger, lose weight, and just feel better this year, I’m going to share with you the ONE thing you can do to make sure you hit your goals this year.
It’s common knowledge that somewhere between 80%-90% of the New Years resolutions fail. It’s a sad realization, but why does it happen?
Basically, change is hard. There are no two ways about it. People have to overcome existing habits to be able to form new habits. Here are the 6 reasons why people don’t stick to resolutions:
1)They try to change everything at once
You need to pick one thing and do it well. In this world of health and fitness, everything seems to be in extremes. It’s all in, or nothing; but it doesn’t work that way. For successful athletes, they have mastered tiny habits over several years that are now rituals in their day to day lives. Working out isn’t a chore to them. It’s ingrained into their daily routine. Eating healthy isn’t hard. Its just a normal day of eating; it’s a habit. The maximum number of habits a person should change at once is three. For example: after I brush my teeth, I will floss. Every time I see stairs, I will take the stairs instead of elevator. When I think I am hungry, I will drink a glass of water first. In my professional experience when coaching clients, I focus on one thing and we do that one thing well. This then sets off The Domino Effect elsewhere and allows other habits to form naturally. A good place to start is to look at how much you walk; if this is below 10,000 steps a day, focus on getting to 10,000 steps a day.
2. They start with a habits that are too big.
A great example of this is “I’m going to exercise 6 days a week, lose 40 lb. and 20% body fat in 12 weeks. I am all for setting big goals, but every goal starts with a single step. This is one of the biggest mistakes in fitness. People make big goals, but don’t actually know the work and effort it takes to get there. The hardest part of starting a new habit is fixing the behavior. It takes a lot of motivation to change one habit, but change more than one? How about ten habits at once? It’s nearly impossible. New habits need to be non-threatening and “so easy” that it’s impossible to say no.When was the last time you stepped into a gym? They can be very intimidating (unfortunately). Train six days a week? When was the last time you trained once a week? Have goals, but take that first small step to start.
3. They seek results, not a routine
We are obsessed with results in fitness. How much weight do you want to lose? How much faster do you want to run? How much do you want to deadlift? These are all great, but we need to see results to keep motivated. New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome. It’s a process. Once you understand this, then all your energy should go into building better routines, not seeking better results. Routines will quickly turn into habits. Tony Schwartz says in his book Maximize Your Potential, “A ritual is a highly precise behavior you do at a specific time so that it becomes automatic over time and no longer requires much conscious intention or energy”. If you want results, you need new habits, but to develop new habits, you need to fall in love with a new routine first.
4. They don’t change their environment
It is nearly impossible to change habits in a negative environment. Habits are a response to the environment we put ourselves in. We are responsible for the environment around us, the people we surround ourselves with, and the food we buy and store in our homes.
5. They assume small changes are not enough
People love to chase big goals. “I want to lose 40lbs by summer”. As a result, they assume that in order to do that, they have to do something extreme. Like workout everyday for 60 minutes. The habits you have today, whether good or bad are the sum of small incremental changes over time. Getting 1% better ever day adds up over time. Start with a habit that’s so easy, you can stick to it. Small changes add up, they create a domino effect in other areas of your life. The military makes you make you bed every morning and it’s inspected. It’s a simple task, if you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will encourage you to do another task and another. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do little things right, you will struggle doing the big things right.
6. They do not know their current level of fitness
We see this from all levels of our clients. People love to guess at where they are in their level of fitness. Staring back at yourself in the mirror can be very hard. I know I myself hate it too, but until you know the score you can’t play the game. When it comes to January and making exercise resolutions, most people have no idea where they are in there current fitness level. They automatically choose a workout from a popular magazine and go from there, or worse, they just make it up as they go along. If you know the score, you can play the game. Knowing the score leads to results because it’s not the least bit subjective. We know exactly where we’re starting and when we’re in the game, we know we have a definite end in sight. This means we can always do something to affect the outcome. This is why I take the assessment of a client very serious. Assessments start with basic health overview with a movement screening and cardio test.
More often than not, people jump into exercise routines that are far too advanced or way beyond their own capabilities. If you are serious about making a change this year, you need to know the score. Because if you don’t know the score, you can’t play the game, right ?
If you’d like some help with that, we’re here for you. Vimtrim offers you a complimentary session to get you started.
Author – Karen Nank