Your fitness reflects your life in many ways. How you show up for your exercise program reflects how committed you are to your own health, how well you can stick to a regular schedule, how hard you’re willing to push to reach your own goals, and how good you are at putting one foot in front of the other because you said you would – not just because you’re jazzed about it.
The good news is, succeeding in fitness can help you succeed in other areas of life. For example, if you can be effective and efficient in fitness you will develop the skills to be efficient and effective in other areas of your life. If you can honor a commitment to yourself in fitness, you’ll be able to honor commitments to yourself in other areas. If you can push yourself in fitness, you can find that same strength to push yourself at other times. If you have integrity with your fitness schedule, you’ll develop more integrity in life.
Here are 3 easy steps to take regarding starting a fitness program and becoming successful at sticking with it:
- Look at your calendar each week in advance and put your exercise schedule in it. Find days and times that present the best opportunity for exercise. They don’t have to be the same times each day or the same days each week, as long as the appointments reflect your ideal number of exercise sessions. (Don’t forget to include time for changing clothes).
- Put a few extra workouts into the schedule. Then if something interferes with your workout and you really have to cancel you’ll still succeed in your goal.
- If you haven’t been exercising lately, start small. Put one or two, 15-20 minute sessions into the calendar. After 1-2 weeks of accomplishing these workouts, see where you can add a little more time in the form of longer workouts or another exercise session. Continue to ramp it up once every couple of weeks until you get up to the ideal number of exercise sessions which is at least 150 min of moderate cardiovascular exercise and two total body strength training sessions per week.
- Honor your commitment to yourself. When you make an appointment on the calendar with yourself, treat it like any other appointment. If you frequently cancel appointments with people, this is a place where you can practice becoming a more reliable person. If you show up for appointments with everyone else but consistently cancel the ones you schedule for yourself it’s time to examine that. What does that say about your relationship with yourself? Where might this habit causing you to fail in other areas of your life?
Another important thing to remember is never to change more than one aspect of a workout at a time. For example, if you’re a runner, you don’t want to go out one day and increase your speed and your mileage and change your form all at the same time. That would be a recipe for disaster. Instead, it’s recommended you increase the intensity in only one area of your workout each time so you can focus your whole brain and body on it, avoid injury, and succeed. Similarly, when you introduce a new fitness routine into your schedule it’s not the time to start seven other new projects! If you’re starting a new program give yourself some space to get it going. Then, in a few weeks when it feels more natural, go ahead and add something else into your life.
Do you see patterns in your fitness habits that are similar to patterns in other areas of your life? Are they habits you like or something you’d like to change? Let’s talk below.