If you’re someone who loses motivation to exercise easily or who can’t seem to find time to exercise consistently, you’re not alone. Almost everyone struggles with these challenges at some point. In this article we offer some tried and tested methods for reducing workout procrastination and increasing commitment to your health.
1. Have a written plan
Studies have shown that people who write down the specific details of their planned exercise, including the date and time, are twice as likely to follow through as those who did not. A good suggestion is to use a physical calendar, so you can cross off each training session, allowing you to track your progress.
This is your chance to make it personal. Consider your time constraints, which part of the day you like working out and when you’re often physically or mentally drained. Then consider the activities you like and have access to.
Your plan should be realistic. The best long-term results will come from consistent physical exercise combined with very gradual increases in time and load.
A good approach is to acknowledge that lasting changes don’t come overnight, and that by being patient throughout the process you will see results in the long run. Remind yourself of this any time you start to feel antsy for results. Good things take time, especially when it comes to fitness.
2. Exercise first thing in the morning
A morning workout helps your body wake up, like your morning cup of coffee. It’s a fantastic way to start the day as you’ve woken up the body and mind. Setting itself up for a good day.
Now, you aren’t expected to run out the door and go to a boxing class or run a marathon on a Monday morning. It can be as simple as a yoga or Pilates class that gets your heart rate up and muscles warm. Something is better than nothing.
A simple trick is to lay out your workout clothing next to your bed, so you are mentally prepared when you wake up. This also allows more time to exercise and do a proper cool down afterwards.
Naturally, over time, your body will adjust to waking up a little bit earlier for these morning workouts and soon you’ll be jumping out of bed.
3. Just show up
Consistency is key when it comes to training, whether it be for a trail walk, marathon or ocean swim. By moving your body consistently your muscle memory will kickstart automatically and it won’t be so tough on your body while training.
Have you noticed that after a long break from training your cardio levels and muscles can feel the burn earlier? That’s because your muscles were in rest mode for too long and they forgot how to move. For this reason it’s best to stay consistent with your training sessions.
Remember, we are everyday people doing normal everyday activities. If you want to see results you must stay consistent over a longer period and to not stop when results are beginning to show.
A key factor for staying consistent is noticing what time of day suits your lifestyle and helps you stick to your program. Is that the morning, lunch or evening? Pick what suits you and that will aid in staying consistent in showing up to training.
4. Engage in positive self-talk
Positive affirmations help shift your mindset, especially when you are working your hardest. It’s so easy to fixate on the body part that’s hurting you in the moment instead of focusing your energy on your goal.
By setting yourself small achievable goals during your training you will boost your self-esteem. Tell yourself to hold that plank for 10/15/30 seconds longer and, run or swim 100m further than last time. Then, enjoy the feeling that comes with achieving ‘a little more’.
5. Workout with others
Observing how others deal with a situation that makes you feel anxious can help you conquer your fears. Alternately, being around people who share your fears provides comfort that you are not alone and enables you to support each other. Together, as a group, you can embrace your anxieties and challenge yourself to go further. Getting coffee and socialising after a training session is a great way to crystallise the accomplishments made and enjoy the greater confidence each session brings.
About Can Too Foundation
We offer professionally coached running and ocean swimming training programs across NSW and Queensland using qualified and experienced Coaches.
In return for professionally coached training programs, our participants fundraise much-needed support for Australian cancer research to fund the most brilliant, innovative early career cancer researchers.
If you are concerned about your ability with any training program, don't hesitate to contact us.