If you currently find yourself stuck in a rut, it’s not too late to get back on track. But we have to start now. And no, I’m not talking next week. Not even tomorrow. Right now.
Let’s see how.
1. Stop thinking, just do it. Avoid complication and keep it simple. No grand plans. No great expectations. Just do it. The trick is simple: get outside and do something. Anything. A fifteen minute run would suffice. Geez, even a five minute run where you walk four minutes of it would do. As soon as you’ve set the ball rolling it’ll make going out a second and third time significantly easier.
And as hard as it may be, don’t compare yourself to your sporty friends or how fit you might have been last year. The only useful comparison here is with your current self. How much exercise did you do last week? If the answer is nothing then getting out just once this week would be a major success.
Do now: put your sports shoes on and tie your laces!
2. Cross it off. Few things in life are quite as satisfying as being able to put a big fat cross on your calendar after finishing your first workout. This simple yet effective tool can also be highly motivational as once you’ve gotten one cross down you’ll be keen to keep on getting more and more.
Include as much or as little information as you wish. Distance. Time. How you felt. This real-time feedback system will give you the chance to reflect on how your month is going as well as space to plan for the upcoming week.
Do now: buy yourself a wall calendar for the new year!
3. Write it down. What is your goal? Why is it important to you? You can guarantee that everything will start to feel a whole lot more real once you’ve put it down on paper. Even better when that paper is a post-it note and you stick it up somewhere you can see it every day.
Choose your words carefully. A tried and tested method of goal-setting is to use the SMART formula. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. A good example of this would be: I will walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week for the next 2 months.
Do now: grab a pen and jot down your SMART goal!
4. Tell somebody about it. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean everybody you know on Facebook. This, in fact, has actually been shown to have an adverse effect as the pressure of expectation weighs down heavy on your shoulders.
What can be highly instrumental, however, is simply telling one person. Somebody you trust. Maybe a friend in a similar situation to you. Support like this can be absolutely priceless, as sometimes a few words of encouragement is all it takes to keep somebody from giving up.
Do now: contact your accountability partner and tell them about your plan!
5. Reward yourself. While we realise that going for a run and then stuffing your face with a Big Mac would be somewhat counter-productive, finding satisfying yet sensible ways of rewarding yourself is essential. Whether it be an episode of your favourite Netflix show or a soak in the bath, you can bet it’ll be far more gratifying once you feel like you’ve earned it.
You will also discover that it’s the action of exercising itself which becomes more rewarding than anything else. The feeling of accomplishment once you’ve completed your workout or the possibility of hitting the fabled runner’s high. And if this wasn’t enough, it has also been proven that the more exercise you do, the more your brain will crave healthy nutritious food. Win-win!
Do now: choose a reward for yourself and do it as soon as you finish your workout!