We all know that staying active is a huge part of what maintains and boosts our mental wellbeing as much as our physical health.
As so many people take the New Year as a time to set positive exercise habits, I wanted to offer some quick tips to help you overcome procrastination and get into action so those new habits stick.
The most common excuses for not doing exercise are:
“I haven’t got the time”
“I don’t know where to start” (and can’t afford a personal trainer)”
“I just don’t enjoy it, I am not the ‘exercise type’“
These simple tips are going to help you overcome all of those things, very quickly, so you establish a new relationship with exercise and new habits that keep you fit for life.
1.Keep It Simple
You may not have 30 or 40 minutes to do a full workout, but small bursts of 10-15 minutes of activity actually can be very effective in building fitness and are just as important for maintaining the health of your joints, muscles and mind. How do you do that? Try replacing your old tube or bus commute with a ‘fake commute’ of a walk around the park, or make some meetings phone calls instead of video calls so you can ‘walk and talk’, add stretch breaks into your meetings, encourage your team to do the same and it may impact mood, productivity and performance.
2. Stay Curious and Creative
It is easier to stick to habits when you take a little pressure off and see this new habit as an ‘experiment’. Rather than assuming that your new habit ‘has’ to look a certain way, focus on how you want to feel at the end and why that is important. Then explore how you might be able to get there, seeing it as a journey of finding what works for you, rather than a destination. Try committing to a new habit for just a week and then ask yourself what the impact was. Experiment with doing different exercises or movement practices. Be curious about whether you enjoy it more at different times of day or whether you prefer doing exercise alone or with someone else. Stay curious and open to on-going learning.
3. Find an Accountability Buddy
You don’t need a personal trainer to keep you on track, you can find an accountability buddy in your friends, colleagues or family. Research shows that if we tell someone else that we are going to commit to doing something, we are more likely to do it so just telling someone you are going to get fit will help you on your way. You can then choose to go one step further by asking that person to check in with you on a regular basis or commit to both doing the same for each other. It is much more compelling to avoid letting someone else down than it is to avoid letting ourselves down so this really works. I know people who exchange trainers with their accountability training buddies so if they don’t turn up to a workout session then the other person will miss their workout as they won’t have their shoes. That’s quite extreme but it works.
So, if you could simplify your plans, focus on this as an experiment and work with someone else to get to this goal, how would that change your fitness goals for the year?
As always, writing this article has given me food for thought, I wonder what the week holds for my fitness routine…