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7 Simple Changes To Get Workout Habits to Stick

7 Simple Changes To Get Workout Habits to Stick

How many times have you fallen off the workout wagon? “Tomorrow” you say. “Tomorrow I will get back on track. What’s one day?” And before you know it, it becomes a week. Whoops. How did this happen?

Here are some simple and super effective changes to keep you on track!

1. Put your workout on your calendar.

Are you going to workout five days this week? Maybe on Monday it works best in the morning, but Thursday the only time you will have is after work. Which days absolutely have to be your skip days? Put it down as an actual time slot.

Schedule your workout days for the week so you can visually see it and be reminded yourself of what is coming.

2. Work out the time of day that works best for you.

Many experts stress that working out right away in the morning is best. But what if that just doesn’t work for you?

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Well, how about you do what does work for you instead? The key is to be flexible. Just because you scheduled it for 7:00 am, and that didn’t happen, doesn’t mean you write the entire day off.

Try for the next open block you have. Even if you only to get in half of your normal workout, it’s better than skipping it completely.

3. Put your workout clothes on right now.

Planning on a workout later? Put your workout clothes on right now. Run your errands, do housework, get the kids to school in your workout clothes.

It sends a signal to your brain the entire time. “A workout is coming. Get ready, stay alert. Your workout is yet to come. You have a plan!”

4. Make a deal with yourself.

Do you still really just do not want to workout? Here is the deal. You workout for ten minutes, and after that if you want to quit you can.

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Guess what? Even when I am down and out and dragging myself to begin a workout, I still have never quit after the ten minutes. You will want to finish!

5. Make a plan. Track the plan.

Which day are you going to do weights, which days will you work out your legs, back and arms? What day is for cardio and for how long? Which exercises exactly will you practise?

You must make a plan or you by default have a plan: to fail. Then track on your calendar what you actually did. List each exercise, how much you lifted, how far you ran or walked, and add a tiny bit more weight or reps after you get stronger.

Energy comes from accomplishments. You can look back over the days and see how much success you’ve had.

6. Get to the real WHY.

Why do you even want to workout? If it’s just to look great in a bikini that motivation will eventually lose its buzz.

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The superficial reasons because of which we often start a workout routine often aren’t strong enough to carry us through the tough days. I struggled to stick to a workout routine year round until I watched my dad face open heart surgery in his fifties. Right then and there I decided I would do everything within my power to not have my boys ever face that pain.

So dig deep. Do the exercise of the Whys. It works like this:

  • Why do I want to workout? To look good in my clothes.
  • Why do I want to look good in my clothes? So I can feel confident.
  • Why do I want to feel confident? So I can show my daughter how important it is to believe in yourself.
  • Why do I want to show my daughter this? So she can be the strongest, happiest, healthiest self possible and have me as her role model showing her the way.

See the difference? Now grab onto your personal deep WHY when you don’t feel like working out, not the bikini dream.

7. Fast forward your life.

I do some volunteer work for hospice where I get the amazing opportunity to spend time with people facing life’s most difficult challenges.

Every time I leave I think “Thank God I can walk out of here. Thank God I can move and run. I can lift things, and all my body parts still work. I can walk outside, and feel the sun on my face.”

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There will come a day for each of us on which this is no longer true. It is a privilege to be able to workout and honor our bodies, not a chore. Change your perspective, change your life.

Physical ability is a gift not given to everyone today, but it was given to you. Don’t waste it with negativity by refusing the gift. Go feel your body working, and be grateful for the fact that today you still can.

Just imagine the great feeling in your heart, and the smile on your face when you look back at your calendar and see how much you’ve accomplished! Now go get ‘em!

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Dawn Hafner

Dawn is a Practical Life Coach who offers concrete tools to help people implement life changes.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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