Has it been a while since you last made it to the gym in Ashburn? Maybe it’s been a week…a few weeks…a month, or even a year: if you’re overdue a gym visit, do yourself a favor and stop procrastinating! This article will give you the tips and tricks you need to get inspired and back onto the treadmill in no time.
A healthy lifestyle is like everything else, getting started on the right foot can be challenging, but if you can muster the discipline and commitment to keep it up for as little as thirty days, it will become a part of your daily routine. You will likely find yourself longing for that quiet time at a gym in Ashburn rather than dreading it.
The carrot and the stick
The first trick to motivating yourself to do anything new, especially something that you do not particularly enjoy is rewarding your own performance and setting up consequences for when you fall short of your goals. For the first week, avoid making performance-related goals such as how fast you can rev up the treadmill or how many pushups/sit-ups you can manage and set attendance goals instead.
For example, for your first week, set a goal of exercising for at least thirty minutes per day at a gym in Ashburn. While effective, performance-related goals work better for people who have already established a fitness regimen as a part of their routine. For beginners and even those who have fallen off the wagon of a regular exercise routine, for the first week or so, showing up is at least half the battle.
Once you have set your goal, create a reward or ‘carrot’ that you give yourself for satisfying your daily goal. Make sure that the reward doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the act necessary to achieve it (for example, a jumbo-sized hot fudge sundae might be counterproductive in this particular for-instance) but it is imperative that you enjoy/look forward to the reward enough to motivate yourself to stick to your goals.
It is also important, at least for the first week, to make sure that the reward is done on a daily basis. If done correctly, this can help you establish a pattern both physically and psychologically that reminds you that exercise is once again a part of your daily activities. After you have determined what your reward will be for good performance; you must then choose what your ‘stick’ or consequences will be for not achieving your daily goals. Now, it’s important to keep in mind when selecting the consequence you need to select something that is unpleasant and you do not need to pick anything so extreme that you will not follow through with it.
As with the reward, the consequence should be daily for the first week and you absolutely MUST be committed to following through (once you give yourself a ‘pass’ to avoid your chosen consequence, you have made it that much easier to repeat the same behavior and fall short of your prospective goals).
Find a buddy
Anyone - a spouse, friend, or co-worker…just make sure you select someone you trust and that you enjoy spending time with. Once they have agreed, discuss your goals with them at length, as well as any challenges you face in achieving those goals. If you have tried and failed in the past, share this with them also then get busy forming a plan.
Your plan needs to be as specific as possible (time of day, frequency, reward and consequence) your partner should know as much about your fitness plan as you do and they should (kindly but firmly) assist you in holding yourself accountable. Whether they are actually physically present when you are exercising (this is preferable) or you ‘check-in’ with them each time you accomplish or fall short of a goal, their support is a critical element of your success.
Have some fun
Put together a playlist of upbeat music that you enjoy that helps keep you moving. Hiking or running outdoors can be a change of pace from going to the gym and using the treadmill every day. If you love to swim and hate to run, find a local aquatics class. You can also join an aerobics or Pilates class at a gym in Ashburn. If you enjoy a specific sport such as softball, volleyball, or basketball…join up with a local league. The more personalized you make this time, the more likely you are to stick to your goals and ultimately make an fitness routine a regular part of your daily activities.
Create a Exercise Ritual
This varies greatly from person to person and it doesn’t matter what your routine is, as long as you have one. Rituals are a vital part of making fitness a part of your lifestyle by giving your body and your subconscious mind ‘cues’ that remind you of what you are doing and when you will be doing it. If your schedule allows, setting a specific time of day that this will occur is a tremendous help in creating an exercise ritual that works for you. Just like any other habit…eating, sleeping, and even going to work…exercising at a specific time of day programs your brain and your body to keep up the routine until it becomes a habit.
These three tips are the foundations to successfully establishing any behavioral pattern and if implemented properly, they can almost guarantee that you will be able to make an exercise regimen a part of your lifestyle in as little as three to four weeks. Once you have crossed over the 30 day threshold, you will find it much easier to meet your goals. At this point, you should re-assess your personal fitness goals and if you feel it is necessary, extend your weekly and monthly objectives a little at a time in order to meet your overall fitness goals.