We’ve all done it. There are just certain things we find too difficult or intimidating to attack right away. The normal human reflex to this is to procrastinate. Although a very unhealthy thing to do, it makes us feel better in the immediate term. A way of forgetting about it for now, with a promise to “do it later”. One of the activities people put off the most worldwide is exercise: that thing which is the best for our wellness, but seems like a huge mountain to scale at time. Whether you’re a regular with experience, or new to physical activity, everyone has those moments when it’s too easy to make excuses. Well, stop putting it off, today’s the day to make the change! What are you going to stop, start, or change to break free and stop procrastinating with exercise?
You don’t need more DVDs, books, or gimmicky toys that pose a workout equipment. Forget those miracle fat-burning pills or the monthly subscription to that fitness guru’s website for motivational quotes and tips. Procrastinationis a very personal, inner struggle that only you know how to overcome.
Here are 12 tips to stop procrastinating with exercise:
(1) Be honest with yourself.The first step toward fixing a problem is admitting there is one, and then confronting the reasons why. Be vocal and unafraid, and brainstorm about this on paper.
(2) Ask if this is what you really want. If exercise or fitness isn’t truly a priority for you, or the motivation comes from the wrong places (like impressing your coworkers) then drop it for now. We all know what makes up a healthy lifestyle—and exercise is part of it— but figure out what is genuinely important in your heart and why. Thatis what you should be pursuing.
(3) Devise a strategy to eliminate bad habits. Figure out what you’re currently doing that sabotages your success. Make mini plans for each day, week, and month and cherish the small victories. This is the everyday life part, before you get to the gym. You’re not gonna fly until you climb out of the mud.
(4) Get past the guilt. Like any self-inflicted mind-trip, procrastination involves negative emotions that play on each other in a vicious circle. Beating yourself up inside is never productive! Find someone, something, or just “self-talk” to get rid of guiltand shame, or you’ll never break out of the routine. The moment you can disassociate with those feelings and look at it more coldly or objectively, you’ll start to see things for what they really are.
(5) Get informed help. Maybe it’s a website, or maybe a personal trainer. Find the right info to guide you properly, or a coach to work with, to help you build and create your perfect plan. Feeling confidence that you know what you’re doing, and following a system, serve as motivation to keep going.
(6) Set fitness goals. Now we’re at inches, pounds, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure scores. Reps and weights tell you how you’ll get there. Personal change is the real objective. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals, both short and long-term. Make sure you remember why you’re training and keep that written down alongside your schedule. Also remember to celebrate progress!
(7) Be realistic in your workout routine. The most effective exercise is the kind you actually do. If your workout program is beyond your level, then adjust it. If the plan takes up too much time every week, then scale back. If it’s too costly, then find cheaper alternatives. Exercise has to fit your physical ability, your schedule, and your budget. If you’re feeling pain in any of these areas, you will surely not stick with it.
(8) Choose exercises you enjoy. We all have different workouts we enjoy, and those we hate. There’s no point planning 3 sessions per week on your least favourite forms of exercise. You’ll dread it and find new ways to put it off. Instead, include something you really enjoy in every workout (E.g. self defense training) and it’ll give you something to look forward to.
(9) Find training partner(s). A workout buddy you meet at the gym, friends who live on your street, or a group class will push you forward. If you have a friend waiting for you outside, you’ll be much less likely to skip the session. If they see you’re serious and support them too, they’ll keep you motivated and accountable.
(10) Learn how to resist temptation. This isn’t always a box of donuts or the next cigarette. Sometimes it’s a night out partying. Recognize what makes you weak, and what will interfere with your exercise routine. Talk it out with a partner or even within yourself. For every time you say “no” to that temptation, the next time will become easier.
(11)Stick to the schedule. Working out at a specific day and time, as a non-negotiable item in your schedule is an easy way to stop procrastination. Write it in, and make it a priority that you must respect.
(12) Reward yourself. It’s not cheating to celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small. If you set a plan and stuck with it, then recognize and reward yourself every week. Of course this doesn’t mean a double cheese bacon pizza with root beer and 4 cupcakes for dessert. Treat yourself to a movie twice a month or book a weekend luxury retreat to escape and relax. Knowing there is a reward waiting next time will push you through the tough moments.
You might procrastinate for a number of reasons, but the same negative impacts always come back. Every day spent procrastinating is another day spent worrying about it. With an organized plan in place, you’ll get radically better results while stressing out less about it. Once you get a taste of healthy living, you won’t ever want to go back!