Why You Can't Stick With An Exercise Program, and How You Can Avoid This
I've done it, too: become excited at the start of a new workout program or itinerary, only to lose steam about two weeks later.
I used to think that it took 21 days of doing something before it became habit. This still holds, but it doesn't always hold for me, and that's where a lot of people get derailed.
So why do you quit your new exercise program? Is it because you don't want it badly enough? Is it because you didn't research it enough or maybe the program itself is too hard?
Here's the truth: what you're doing is correct, but it's the why you're doing it that's off.
Answer this: when you go on an exercise program, are you likely to dream of finishing it, only to give yourself permission to allow that DVD to collect dust on the shelf?
We all have fitness goals and we all want them enough. The real question is, how do you see fitness within the grander pattern of your life?
Is fitness, for you, a means to a specific end, or is fitness and end within itself? In other words, have you yet accepted that being fit and working out on a daily basis is a part of your life?
If you haven't, this is an idea that should be ingrained within you like a mantra: "I do not work out so that I can meet a short-term body goal; I work out because it's now an important part of my life."
I know--it's an unpopular idea, but I think that if I ask you to commit to fitness, we first need to define what it is we're talking about.
Exercise does not need to be fast in order to meet the fitness requirement, and neither does it have to be grueling. Although it'd be nice if you were left with buckets of sweat, remember that that's not always an indicator of how hard you've worked: working hard and pushing yourself past your comfort zone, however, is.
Change Your Mindset
It really is that simple, or is it? The thing of it is that you need to create a habit out of exercise. It needs to be done so often and so consistently that it becomes like breathing, and you begin to miss it when it's not there. Your workout time is sacred; it's done at the same time each day and it becomes a crucial part of your existence. Deep? It should be, because you've got to embrace it this way. This is why highly successful people (in terms of their fitness) exercise everyday: it's not a chore anymore, but a part of a daily routine.
Follow a program calendar
Are you actually following a program, or just working out to whatever suits your fancy? I don't know about you, but I wasn't an expert before I achieved my results. In fact, I barely knew how to do a "burpee" correctly, and I was supposed to design a workout program that incorporated the ideal balance of stretch, recovery, strength, and cardio? Nope.
I like being told what to do, at least when it comes to fitness--I like it when experts and trainers tell me what to do because it takes the guess work out of it. You follow a program and its calendar, you get results--it's a simple formula, but not an easy one.
Expect the Worst
Boy, this entry gets more and more pessimistic, doesn't it? By this I mean that you should expect to feel the temptation to quit or stay in bed; or feel the temptation to continue getting on the scale and get frustrated, only to give up your exercise program.
Be real with yourself: you're not going to want to get up early or give it all you've got for two months straight with a workout program. At the same time, you want to achieve your fitness goals. Which one do you want more than the other?
Being real doesn't mean ignoring your bad habits, but being aware of them, like narrating to yourself what you expect yourself to do when X,Y, and Z occur. Far too many people fall off for good when they come head with their habits: stress, binging, being on Facebook versus making time to work out, etc. and the list continues.
Remember this: most exercise programs work. The question is, do you? Are you willing to put in the work? Exercising and following a program is as much emotional and psychological as it is physical. The above tips can work, but like the exercise program itself, they need to be applied consistently.