How to get back on the Workout Wagon
My recent move across the planet has given me plenty of excuses to skip my workouts and eat like there’s no tomorrow. Having no kitchen, living out of suitcases, travel-related illnesses, this weather (UGH!), rekindling old friendships, and the like has don’t it’s best to get in between me and my healthy self.
I know I’m not alone in this category, either. We all have roadblocks and hurdles to keeping a healthy routine going, especially in these long cold months before spring arrives (…hello, Spring, can you PLEASE come out now?!).
I thought I’d share some tips today on how to get back on the workout wagon, for both of us. 😉
1. Remind yourself of your goal. Is it a better cholesterol number? How about the energy to chase your kids at the park for a half hour without needing to find a bench? Maybe it’s the bikini you’ve got shoved in the back of your dresser. Whatever it is, bring your goal to the front of your mind, or your closet. Seeing your goal cholesterol number written on your bathroom mirror, your kids photo in your gym bag or your bikini as you pull out your stretchy pants will be a visual reminder of why you want to get healthy in the first place.
2. Start easy. Just because you used to run 5 miles a day in cross country (you know… back in high school), doesn’t mean you have to run 5 miles in your first workout. If you’ve taken more than two weeks off from exercise, you WILL need to step back from your previous efforts to avoid burnout and/or injury. “Killing it” on your first workout is a recipe for falling right back off that wagon when you’re too sore to workout again for a week or two.
3. Make a manageable commitment you can keep every day for two weeks without any exceptions. Generally, you want to rest 1-2 days a week when workout out, but for habit forming purposes, it’s best to keep at it for 14 days. This will help retrain your brain to expecting exercise as part of your daily routine. While you won’t have a habit completely cemented in your life after only two weeks, it will give you a jump-start on making exercise part of your everyday life, not a fluke or a random occurrence.
4. Don’t change everything at once. Now, this advice may not be necessary for everyone. Some people do best when they turn their whole world upside-down at once. However, for most of the population, a complete overhaul of your life all in one day will set you up for failure. Let me suggest that you make a list of changes you want to make in your health habits, and change one thing each week, or even each month, depending on how hard these changes are. If you try to cut out bad carbs, Starbucks (Lord, help me), alcohol, and diet soda on the same day you begin jogging three miles, lifting weights and waking up two hours earlier in order to do all these things, you might very well explode. I know I would. Take each change individually, so you can focus on each one.
5. Schedule time for your health. If your goal is to make more healthy, home-cooked meals, you MUST make time to plan these meals. I promise you, meal planning at 5:30 for a 6:00 dinner will not result in the best you can provide for you and your family. Saying to yourself “I’ll work out four times this week” will not result in four workouts. Scheduling your exercise just like you would your hair appointments. Don’t cancel on yourself, either. You’re health is worth keeping that appointment.
6. Find someone to hold you accountable. You know that fit friend you have? The one who works out every week and makes good choices when you go out to lunch. Recruit her to hold you accountable. Ask her to check in with you once a week, or once a day, to see how you’re doing. Knowing she’s going to text you after dinner to see how your day went will encourage you to have a good report to give. If you work better with public attention, use your social media community to hold you accountable. Post your need for motivation on Facebook, and I bet you’ll have more than enough encouragement to get up and get going. Just remember to log off of Facebook so you will actually get moving instead of reading the last three days of cat memes. 😉
7. Reward yourself. No, not with Ben & Jerry’s. Choose a tangible reward for yourself. Make it something you can achieve in a couple weeks, and make it action oriented, not result oriented. In other words, go get a mani-pedi once you’ve worked out 10 times. Or put a dollar in a jar every time you avoid the vending machine all day at work. Then take that money and buy a new dress that shows off your great arms. Whatever will help you enjoy your hard work, without putting you back at square one.
Now, get off the computer and go work out. Seriously. Then you can come back and comment on what you just did for you! 🙂
Love and Rockets,