The forming of a healthy habit is like links in a chain. As you repeat an activity, it’s like adding another link to the chain. The chain becomes stronger and longer. Pretty soon, you’ve formed a healthy habit.
Motivational experts contend that it takes about 30 days for a habit to form. So the odds increase that you’ll hold on to a habit long-term if you can be consistent for about a month. These tips may help you get pumped up enough to start walking, get on your bicycle or hit the gym.
Realize it’s the First Part that’s the Toughest
Exercising those first few minutes will more than likely be the most difficult, both on your body and mind. Accept this and look past it. Focus on the positive feelings you will have after the workout.
Visualize the Results
Using visualization as a sports performance tool has been well documented. Visualize your workout beforehand to motivate you to get going. First, visualize yourself enjoying the workout. See yourself warmed-up and energetic. Then think about how you’ll feel afterwards. Think about how much you’ll enjoy your meals knowing that you’ve put in the hard work. Finally, think of the weight you’ll lose or the toned body you’ll have with consistent workouts.
Make an Exercise Benefits List
Think about all the benefits that regular exercise can give you and write them down on a notepad. Be sure to include all the benefits you can think of, not just the obvious ones. For example, be sure to list benefits like meeting a new friend at the health club, no-guilt desserts and other perks. Try to make your list as complete and long as possible. Allot about 30 minutes to make a long list. Post your list on the refrigerator or somewhere you’ll see it every day. Continue to add to it as you think of new benefits.
Prepare Clothing and Equipment
Do you work out in the morning before you go to work? Spend a few minutes the night before setting out your workout clothes and shoes next to your bed, or getting your gym bag ready. While you’re doing this, visualize getting up in the morning and putting your outfit on or going to the health club, getting ready for a great workout!
Have Regular Sessions with a Training Partner
Recruit a neighbor, friend or loved one to train with you. Set up regular exercise times with your partner, such as morning walks, bike rides or aerobics classes.
Ease Up on the Self-pressure
Part of the reason you may find yourself unmotivated is that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes our minds works like a circuit board. Overload it and you get the exact opposite effect of what you intended. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself at first to do too much. Start slowly and gradually increase your exercise frequency and intensity as your body gets stronger and fitter.
And if None of these Tips Work…
If these or any other motivational tricks don’t work, perhaps you need to reevaluate your exercise program. It may be that you’re pushing yourself too hard, too fast. Or perhaps you need to set a more realistic goal, or one that excites you more than your current target.
Finally, never give up. Whether it takes you 30 days or several years to establish an active lifestyle, keep at it until you get pumped up for every workout!
Source: BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, http://www.bcbsil.com/health/achieving_wellness/index.html