One of the biggest challenges people face when getting back into pursuing a healthy lifestyle, is developing a routine they can stick to. People usually start off confident and strong, but soon find themselves reverting back to their old habits wondering, “Where did I go wrong?” While the idea of developing a routine you can stick to may seem daunting if not down-right impossible, if millions of others out there can do it, so can you!
Follow these expert tips to help you get on track and stay there:
Get your mind right
Most of your success throughout this process is going to be determined by your attitude. If you start off with a negative mindset, you’ll never get anywhere, and if you develop a negative mindset, you’ll never make progress. Stay positive, and look at all the small bumps in the road as challenges to overcome. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make your target weight for the week or if you slip up and have a cheat meal. The most important thing is to stay positive, stay focused, and know that you will reach your goal so long as you pursue it and stay on track. (Tips: post motivational quotes up somewhere you can see them daily, workout with a friend, join a workout group or discussion forum).
Let’s face it — Rome wasn’t built in a day and you’re not going to be either. Be realistic with yourself about your goals and how much your body can truly handle when beginning your routine again.
It may take you six, eight, twelve weeks or more to reach your weight goals and maintain them, but be honest with yourself and realistic from the start. For example, if you need to lose 30 lbs., don’t give yourself four weeks to do it. A healthy weight loss is averaged at 1-2lbs. a week although some people may lose another pound or two per week healthily.
Also don’t try to pick up where you left off last time you were hitting the gym regularly. You’re not expected to be a superhero, so ease back into it slowly and avoid possible injury and discouragement.
Do what you enjoy
A lot of people are mistaken by thinking that they have to do something they truly despise in order to reach their fitness goals (i.e. running). The truth is unless you are training for some specific activity or event where, running for example, is mandatory, then you don’t have to do it. If you don’t like running, consider other forms of cardio such as the elliptical, swimming, stair climbing, group cardio classes at your gym, or circuit training with weights. Add more of the things you enjoy doing in your routine that are still conducive to reaching your fitness goals. The more you enjoy your workouts, the less likely you are to break your routine! (Tip: change up your routine regularly and try new things you think you may enjoy to avoid boredom).
Plan for success
Don’t view exercise as something you have to “fit in,” but rather look at it as just part of your day to day activities.Create a realistic schedule you can adhere to by making it as much a part of your daily routine as working, eating, and showering. This is paramount to developing an unbreakable routine. Once you view exercising as common place as anything else you have to do on a daily basis, the easier it is to adhere to and the less likely you are going to view it as a chore.
Start off by reviewing your weekly schedule and figure out what days realistically work best for you. If you’re just getting back into your routine again, it may be best to start with only 3-4 days a week and add additional days every 2-3 weeks. Work out the same days, times, and places if possible for at least three weeks. Why three weeks? Because it generally takes people three weeks to develop a habit, and only one week to break it.
Ways to help you develop this habit in the beginning if you are struggling on your own include: go to a regular group class at your gym; attend a boot camp; hire a personal trainer; and/or work out with a buddy.
Developing an unbreakable routine requires a positive attitude, a realistic mindset, an enjoyable exercise routine, and a habit forming schedule. If you can do all of these things, there is nothing you can’t do!
*If you don’t have a calendar already check out these helpful exercise and health templates to get you started creating your unbreakable routine.