We’ve all been there. We’ve set our New Year’s Resolution goals, bought an exercise program or a gym membership and made a commitment to ourselves that we’re going to lose those love handles and get into the best shape of our lives. Unfortunately, most of us start slacking off after just a few weeks into our new lifestyle or commitment. We fall back into our old bad eating habits; we make up excuse after excuse on why we should take the day off and we just lose momentum. It’s very difficult to stay on track sometimes. In this article, I want to share with you 6 tips that have helped me to stick to an exercise routine, and I hope you can gain something from it as well! So, without further ado, let’s get started!
TIP #1 Plan out your day the night before
You’ve probably heard the phrase “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This phrase holds a lot of truth. If you don’t plan your day accordingly, ideally the night before, you end up having no set schedule and no time, to do the things you want to. You end up being reactive, instead of proactive. If you have a To-Do List, where you’ve listed all the tasks that need to be done, for it to be a successful day, you will be more likely to make good decisions, rather than fall back into your old unhealthy habits. In his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Steven Covey mentions a key habit: “Be Proactive”. What this means, is that you need to make a certain decision beforehand and plan things out accordingly, so you don’t have to make up rational decisions on the spot. Planning your day the night before has numerous benefits, some of these include:
- You are ready to take over and own the day.
- You are more likely to stick to your tasks and goals for the day.
- You are more likely to make smarter decisions.
- You know exactly what needs to be done and when.
Having a To-Do List and ticking off task after task, helps you gain momentum to tackle other tasks and stay on track with your goals. Ticking off tasks off a To-Do list releases dopamine in your brain, giving you a euphoric feeling that you’ve accomplished something. It’s a little reward that you can gain daily.
TIP #2 Track your progress
“What gets measured, gets managed” Tracking your progress, whether it’s your weight on the scale, or the weight your life in the gym, and seeing the progress you’ve made over a weekly and monthly basis, feels very rewarding. As a result, you are more likely to be willing to keep pushing forward, so you can see that progression over an extended period. Keeping track on your progress has the following benefits:
- Motivate you when you look back at your progress
- Keep you accountable and helps you stay on track
- Allows you to assess yourself in an objective way
Whether it is 2 pounds on the bench press, or 3 pounds less on the scale, progress is progress. You must keep in mind that sticking to an exercise regimen is a marathon and not a sprint. It can be as simple as keeping an exercise log where you can write down all the sets, reps, and the weight you’ve used in a given workout, or wearing a fitness tracker to see how many calories you’ve burned in a workout and during the day. In his book ” The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg says “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage.” This is especially in this case, since sticking to a diet and exercise regimen, and logging that progress, is a testament of small wins over a long period of time.
TIP #3 Have a gym buddy
Having a gym buddy who can keep you accountable can be a huge asset when it comes to staying on track with a workout program. Besides pushing each other, it can be hard to try to ditch a gym session, when you have a commitment to your gym buddy.
TIP #4 Mix it up
Sometimes training can get boring. Doing the same workouts day after day, week after week can get a bit monotonous. It’s very easy to get bored and eventually lose motivation when there is nothing new and exciting in your weekly exercise regimen. One way to stick to a fitness program is to mix things up a bit. Sign up for hot yoga, or a martial art or even a boot-camp. Those are all fun yet physically challenging activities that will keep your body guessing and break out of the monotony of your usual routine.
TIP #5 Rest properly
Training can have a toll on your body, but sometimes your mind can also get fatigued. It’s very important to rest properly on your days off and keep your mind off of training and working out. Going for a hike, a long walk on the beach or even a bike ride can have tremendous benefits in the long run for you in order to recover for the next week of training. Incorporating a rest week, or a deload week, from time to time is an essential component of many exercise programs. Besides the recovery for your muscles and tendons, having a short break allows your mind to reset and get ready for more training down the line.
TIP #6 TREAT YOURSELF
Just like taking a break from the gym from time to time, it’s essential to take a break from your diet as well. Don’t take this as an excuse to stuff your face junk food until you can’t eat anymore, but rather treat it as a small reward to yourself for sticking to a diet or eating plan for a consistent period. Having a cheat meal occasionally can help you fight off binge attacks, and can help you stay on track with your diet, as you won’t have as many tendencies to cheat on your diet. Well, that’s all for now. Those are the tips that have helped me the most to stay on track with my fitness goals, and I hope you can get something out of this! I hope you enjoyed this article! Look out for more.