Time and time again I hear that the hardest thing associated with exercise is getting started! Why? We as human beings have an inbuilt instinct to rest and preserve energy relating back to the caveman era. At this point in time we needed energy stores to be able to act quickly and run away from a predator and/or chase after our lunch or dinner. In between these events it was vital that we did not waste energy, now days this is definitely not the case and we actually preserve too much energy. Although we have evolved incredibly since then we have not shaken this inbuilt instinct, the driving force behind our mental battle often preventing us from exercising. The good news is that there are strategies to overcome this battle and this is achieved when exercise becomes a daily habit!
I have put together five of my best tips designed to overcome mental battles and start the habit formation process. We cannot develop habits overnight, it does take several months of hard work, but once the habit is formed it will be with you for life!
5 tips to forming your exercise habit
1.) Find someone to join forces with
No one likes to let people down, therefore finding a friend or family member to hold yourself accountable is one of the best strategies to getting fit! If you can meet and workout together this is ideal as you will also reap the benefits of social connection, however if not do not fear. You could commit to a time where you exercise together – you might play the same exercise video or go for a walk while chatting to each other. Trust me, trying alone is harder than with your friends or family!
2.) Find a type of exercise you like
There is no point trying to take up swimming if you don’t like swimming! Find something that you like, it might be tennis, yoga, netball, football or hiking, whatever floats your boat, just make sure it’s fun for you! Mix it up also – try and find 2-3 types of exercise that you like and rotate these throughout the year.
3.) Sign up to an event
There is nothing more motivating than signing up to a challenging event, especially if it’s with your exercising pal! For example, a local group of Mum’s a Mangoplah signed up to do the City to Surf in Sydney last year. In the lead up, we got together for weekend walks/ \runs and a mid-week circuit session to prepare for the event which was so much fun!
4.) Make a plan
Every Sunday evening sit down with your calendar and map out your exercise plan for the week. Make sure it’s realistic and perhaps try to plan shorter and higher intense sessions mid-week and longer and less intense on the weekend.
5.) Help yourself execute the plan
It all well and good to have a plan but being organised and executing your plan is the key. Strategies such as getting your exercise clothes ready the night before, setting your alarm and putting it out of reach and committing to your plan 100% just before you go to bed can help with execution! When you have successfully completed your session be proud of yourself and celebrate each win!
Remember it is ok to fall off the rails, don’t be too hard on yourself because all you need to do is get back on track the next week or day!