Years ago, I would attempt to start an exercise program, but like many, found it difficult to stick with it. I’d start full steam, and then would stop soon after.
I didn’t know the trick to start the exercise habit.
I hardly needed convincing that exercise was good for me. And I knew that staying sedentary for too long would catch up with my both my general health and overall appearance. But knowing this didn’t seem to be the right motivator.
The only thing that was consistent was my pattern of starting and stopping. And when I stopped, my nutrition suffered and I’d get semi-depressed.
You see, my idea of a proper fitness program was that it would have to be hard. I’d picture myself spending hours in the gym, doing burpees, and running distances outside. And I had a multitude of goals — I wanted to do it all!
In fact, I made it so difficult that it was impossible to sustain. I simply didn’t have the time, nor the energy, to do what I really wanted to do.
Then, I discovered the secret of building small habits.
Instead of focusing on the big outcome, I started focusing on small changes that I could do every day. And I made them easy to achieve, so easy that I blew past them.
Here’s an example that might work for you. Tell yourself that tomorrow, just before you eat breakfast, you will do the following:
Write that down: 6 Pushups and 12 Squats. And that’s it. The movements can be scaled if you can’t do them un-assisted (for example, the pushups can be done from the knees or off a wall).
Just do one set. It’s an easy goal to meet!
Do that for a week. You might even find that you will want to do more during the day…
The next week, try adding another set before lunch.
The week after that, do a set just before dinner.
And that’s how it starts — with baby steps. Make something simple and effortless, something that doesn’t require a big chunk of time.
Before going to bed at night, imagine yourself achieving even more. Picture yourself going for a walk outside. Think about how you can not only push your own bodyweight (as in a pushup), but how you might practice pulling yourself up (as in an inverted row or even a pullup).
The “go hard or go home” mentality might work for some, but if you’ve failed to reach your fitness goal in the past — a simpler approach might be in order.
I bet there’s a way you can start your fitness plan right now! What are the tiny goals you will work on this week?
Best in health,