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5 Ways You Can Exercise More Effectively All By Yourself

5 Ways You Can Exercise More Effectively All By Yourself

For many people exercise seems too daunting and too demanding of a task. There are numerous exercise programs to choose from, and many people don’t know which one is best for them. Getting started on an exercise program is a large enough challenge considering the busyness of your daily life. It’s easy to conjure up excuses for why you shouldn’t exercise today. Where is the time to exercise? You tell yourself you will start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, etc.

Exercise doesn’t have to feel impossible. You are not expected to climb Mount Everest every time you work out. With the overwhelming amount of data available on the value of daily exercise to your health, both physically and mentally, exercise should be viewed with gratitude and positivity. Hopefully it can transform into something you look forward to, rather than something you dread.

Perhaps you prefer working out in a group setting. This is always desirable for many people because as a group you can endure mental and physical stress together, and help one another push through the work out. For many people this is not an option. So what do you do? Here I’ve outlined five ways for you to exercise more effectively by yourself. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you choose to perform. Implement these five simple steps into your routine and I believe you will witness wonderful results.

1. Set an exercise target or plan before you start

I don’t want to present the idea that you have to embark on a two or three month workout program and know exactly what you are going to do every day. If you prefer this kind of exercise regimen than go for it. I am proposing that for each day you exercise that you have a goal or plan of what you want to accomplish.

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It could be as simple as walking up ten flights of stairs or using the treadmill for twenty minutes. It doesn’t have to be grandiose but having a target for your exercise will help keep you focused. You will be more likely to complete your daily workouts when you choose realistic and attainable targets.

2. Focus on quality and not quantity

It took me a while to understand this one. There are a lot of people who go to the gym and spend two hours there. By the time they leave the gym they really haven’t accomplished much at all. It is not important that you spend a lot of time exercising but it is important that you spend quality time exercising!

Develop an exercise goal for the day so you can focus your workout without wasting unnecessary time. It will serve you better to spend thirty minutes at the gym lifting weights with a concrete plan of what lifts you are going to do and how much time you are going to rest in between each lift, than to wander aimlessly for a couple of hours. Spending more time at the gym doesn’t necessarily mean you exercised properly for the entire time you were there.

3. Challenge yourself with attainable exercise goals

Only you know your limits of how much you can push yourself. This is especially imperative when you are exercising alone. There is not going to be someone there yelling at you to push you.

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You have to go into each workout telling yourself that you are going to get the most out of the workout. A walk through the neighborhood can be a great form of exercise especially if you are walking at a brisk pace.

With an exercise plan in place, along with a time limit in which to accomplish the workout, you are more likely to challenge yourself. If you go into a workout with no plan you are more likely to coast through the workout.

If your goal is to run one mile in fifteen minutes then you have a tangible goal of what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s say you finish the mile in thirteen minutes. Next time you can make a goal that you will run the mile in under thirteen minutes. This is how you challenge yourself.

It is not necessary for you to increase the intensity of each workout but when you feel you can do more, expand your limits. Not every exercise routine is going to be grueling and intense, but you have to be willing to test yourself if you want to experience positive results from exercising.

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4. Concentrate on simple exercises, not complicated ones

This phrase can be utilized in many facets of your life. It is especially beneficial when exercising. You don’t need a complex exercise plan in order to notice results. You need to set a target, focus on quality, and challenge yourself.

Swimming ten laps in the pool might be an accomplishment for you. All you are doing is swimming, nothing else, but achieving the goal of ten laps will leave you confident and readier to swim more in the next workout. Exercise doesn’t have to include lots of fancy equipment. This stuff may help but if you are just beginning to exercise, this kind of equipment can be intimidating.

Focus on simple exercises and then work your way up to more complicated routines as you get more comfortable and gain confidence in your capabilities. This is vitally important when exercising alone because often you will not be able to use the fancy equipment on your own.

5. Be consistent

This is probably the most important aspect. You have to exercise regularly if you desire results. I am not saying that you have to exercise every day, although daily exercise has enormous advantages for your health. You have to exercise regularly, at least three or four times per week.

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This can be quite challenging for many people because they start exercising and they get excited for the first few weeks. Then maybe the results aren’t exactly what they expected so they give up or they get busy at work and they start making excuses for why they can’t exercise. Stick with it!

Exercise can never be harmful unless it is done irresponsibly and too frequently. If you maintain an exercise regimen of three to five times a week, you are living a healthy lifestyle.

Exercising alone isn’t always easy but often it can be necessary. If exercising alone is your only option, then make sure you take advantage of the time you have. Utilie these steps to enjoy more productive and fulfilling exercise!

Featured photo credit: Man run at autumn morning. Healthy lifestyle concept via shutterstock.com

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Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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