Success from the Start: The Right Way to Get in Shape
If it feels like your resolution is the same every single New Year’s, take notice of the following tips. All of them will help you put your best foot forward, even if the last time you stepped in a gym was this time last year. Let’s make 2015 the year it finally sticks for you.
1. Make a plan.
It isn’t enough to aspire to something; you must also have a plan to carry you towards the action stage of your achievement. Make sure that your plan is specific and that your goals are realistic.
- Specific: Who, what, when, and where? (See tip #2)
- Realistic: Does your goal address who you are now, and the challenges you face? Or are you setting your goal too high, at a place you’d like to be already? Often, we start out a few steps ahead of where we already are, so we’re tired from the start, and less confident in our ability to succeed.
- Get a fitness tracker
2. Stick to a schedule.
Busy is the new normal. Set a schedule, and stick to it; make your scheduled time non-negotiable. Recognize that if you give yourself an out, you’re more likely to take it.
3. Start Small.
Behavioral change is a process, and too much too soon will have you running back to the comfort of your former, exercise-free life. Instead, set a small goal of 15-20 minutes a day, or a few days a week. Then build from there, giving yourself time to adapt, physically and emotionally.
4. Forget what you know about exercise.
People who struggle to exercise consistently typically struggle due to their preconceived notions of exercise. Typically, this is due to prior, negative experiences.
Based on your previous experiences, you can stack the deck in your favor. If you’re really honest with yourself- about what you like and what you don’t– you’re one step closer to finding an exercise routine you can stick with, long-term.
5. “Better” is best
To quote Voltaire, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
We often get so caught up in “the perfect” (doing the “best” form of exercise, even if you hate it, or expecting to enjoy exercise to the point of euphoria), that we fail to recognize the “good” in what we are able to do, in the ways we enjoy doing it. Don’t aim for perfect. Aim for better.
6. Seek Support from Strangers.
Family and friends are the people we cling to for advice, support, and motivation, but they can also limit us: their belief systems can get in the way of new ways of thinking and living, and even reinforce our negative behaviors. Seeking out new friends with similar goals and beliefs can help you stay accountable to your goals. There are support groups that provide accountability from peers, without jeopardizing the existing relationships you have with friends and family.
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