Don’t you just hate it when you arrive on a page to read an article you’re interested and the first thing you see is a form asking you to subscribe to a mailing list, or even worse – a pop-up completely obscuring the article you were going to read? That sh*t drives me insane, which is why I won’t do it to you! Instead, I will ask you to pretty please read to the end of this article 🙂 And if you liked it, I would love it if you subscribed to my mailing list – the form is at the end because I don’t want it to interfere with your reading 🙂 Although I do recognize I’ve already interfered with your reading. Sorry 😛
Now, let’s get back to the topic at hand!
So you’ve made a commitment to exercise, and you’re really proud of yourself! Well done!
But – are you sure it’s really a commitment? Are you sure that when things get busy, exercise isn’t going to be the first thing to drop off the list?
I want to share something with you:
A recent client story
This week I had a client message me to let me know she has a very busy week and needs to reschedule our session to the week after. At first I didn’t think much of it – after all, we all have busy lives!
But then, I realized something really important.
Her life got busy and what was the first thing to drop off the list?
Here’ the thing: you will have a crazy week 2 weeks from now, and then again next month and guess what? Christmas is coming and there will be more crazy times ahead.
So when exercise is the first thing to drop off the list, you have a problem.
The thing is, this is so common that even I had a hard time identifying what was happening in the client story above. Yup, sure, makes sense, things get busy and something needs to drop. There’s always next week. It’s only when I took a moment to analyze things deeper, did I realize what was going on.
So what happened? The client and I had an honest chat about commitment and she ended up making her session after all!
Keeping this story in mind, I want to spend the rest of this article talking about three strategies that I have found to be the most effective in increasing your chances that you stick to it once you’ve made the commitment to exercise.
- You may need to shuffle other things around to make your workouts – scheduling things around your workouts is crucial
- You may realize you over- or under- estimated the number of times you were available to work out – this gives you a reality check
- You are mentally accepting that you are going to be working out X number of times in the next week – the mind is a powerful thing!
- We forget! “How many times did I say I was going to work out this week? How many times did I work out already?” Let’s face it, most of us can’t even recall what we ate for breakfast, and the last thing we need is yet another thing to keep track of! By scheduling, you no longer have to think about it.
Put your workouts in your calendar just as you would any other event or meeting.
To give you an example, here’s how it works for me: I typically aim to do a class with my husband 3x per week, and hit the gym 2x on my own. By scheduling, I know exactly what dates and times we will be working out together, and which days I need to be in the gym. Or, if he is only available 2x this week, well then I know I need to be in the gym 3x to compensate. See how this works? Nothing is left to chance.
Find external accountability
If you find that you are consistently falling off track, being accountable to someone will help. This is partly the reason why I find couples who train together are more successful long term than individuals.
External accountability can take many forms:
- Your spouse
- Your best friend
- Your trainer
It’s really important that whoever you choose as your external accountability person shares the same values as you. You don’t want to be sharing your workout experience with someone who binges on Netflix and hits the drive-through every day.
Part of my role as a trainer is to serve as that accountability resource for my clients. This is why we set weekly goals together and I check in with you periodically to see how you’re doing. Our sessions serve as an extra push, while checking in keeps the momentum going.
Come up with plan B’s
It’s inevitable that things will come up that will mess with your perfect plan. As a project manager, I was taught to just accept this as a fact. BUT – accepting it doesn’t mean you don’t do anything about it! Quite the contrary – you anticipate the obstacles and work around them.
In project management speak, these are called contingency plans. In more normal terms, they are called your plan B’s.
So what are your obstacles? Here are some of the more common ones I encounter, and some proposed plan B’s
- “Something came up” (scheduling conflict) –> do a shorter workout, or incorporate activity into that new “something” that came up
- “I get lazy” –> schedule your workouts and find an external accountability person
- “I’m too tired” –> Do a more gentle workout, go for a walk, or just stretch! You can also opt for a bubble bath, 10min of meditation, going to bed early – or all three! This still counts as self care!
- “I’m not a gym person” –> join a class, buy a home workout DVD, or hire a personal trainer to come to your house
Notice how “I don’t have enough time” is not part of the list? That’s because if you consistently don’t have enough time to exercise, then it’s very hard to say you’ve made a “commitment to exercise”. You either carve out the time, or do what you can while you wait for better days.
Note: I find that clients often get stuck when I ask them to list their obstacles and come up with plan B’s on their own, so don’t be surprised if that happens to you. Coming up with a solution may be tricky, but it’s imperative that you come up with one that works for YOU. So start with the list above, but tailor it to things that you are actually willing to do!
Related: Do your workout! How to trick the couch potato in you
Making a commitment to exercise is the easy part – sticking to it long term is a different matter altogether! Use the strategies above to help keep yourself on track. And if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help! This is why I exist 🙂
PS: Get my articles straight to your Inbox!
Now that you’ve read the article for which you were here in the first place, I can safely ask you to subscribe to my email list. Just fill out the form below 🙂 I plan to start sending emails when a new blog post is out in early 2018. Thank you in advance!
After being skinny unfit for the majority of my life, I discovered fitness by accident once I became a mom and started working out with my husband. A couple of years later, I started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals and couples juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active.
My mission is to teach people about fitness and work with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes. My personal values include being professional, honest and transparent in all of my doings but also being funny and silly because that’s what makes life (and your training sessions) fun!
Every day I hear from tons of individuals and couples who are dying to get more active but they just need that extra push! Getting people started on a fitness program is what I love to do. Check out my personal training packages and share your story with me so I can help you reach your fitness goals!