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How to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Training Program

How to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Training Program

Keeping to a new training program is probably one of the most common problem people face after New Years Eve. Promises of better health and a fit body are common at this time of year but if simply making the new year’s resolution was all that was needed, the world would be populated with only fit and healthy people. Not quite reality is it? What happens to most people is that they keep to their new training program for a short time—maybe a few weeks—and then they start slacking off. What started out so well soon turns into another burden: every time a session is missed, the risk of failure rises and the burden of guilt piles up. In the end it is just so  much better just to skip the whole thing go back to the way things were—anything just to keep from feeling guilty all the time.Why does this happen? Why is it so hard to keep to new training programs? More importantly, what can you do make sure you keep to it?

new training program

    The number one problem is that it is just too easy to talk yourself out of training. You didn’t do it before, so why is it necessary now? Your internal dialogue can be quite interesting to listen to—anything that speaks in favor of training seems so small, and making up excuses is just so easy.

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    The reason that all of this happens is that your new training program is not a habit yet. People are creatures of habit, and we generally resist change. No big surprise there—if you think about it, you will likely see the pattern. Lasting change require extra effort, and it is not until you make something a habit that changes will last.

    Get in the habit

    The solution is simple: make your new training program a habit.

    That sounds easy enough, but as it turns out, it may not be. Just because you set out to create a new routine, it will requires a fair bit of consistency to become a true habit. To get this going, the first couple of weeks are the most important: this is where you form the basis of the new habit (if it becomes a habit). You have to make sure that you keep any cheating to an absolute minimum. Depending on what kind of person you are, the way that you can do this will vary: below are some very powerful suggestions and by using one of them—or even better, a combination of them—you can make sure you stick with things long enough to form your new desired training habit. After this, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

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    These are the methods I propose:

    1. Get a training partner.

    Doing this is effective on many levels: first, you combine your health and fitness with social interaction, which will make heavy or painful exercise a little bit more enjoyable. Secondly, having a training partner builds automatic positive peer pressure: if you want to skip a session, you don’t just have to convince yourself, you have to call your training partner as well and give him/her a good reason. This alone can make you go the extra mile. The best training partner you can find is somebody who is already in the habit of working out, so you’ll be piggy-backing on their habit. You then reap the benefits of the work your friend has already put in.

    2. Make a bet.

    If you have problems finding a training partner to actually train with you in person, you may be able to make a bet with someone who is doing the same thing you are instead. Agree that for each time you miss a training session when they do train, you have to pay the other person a nominal fee. Now you have voluntarily included a monetary reason to train, combined with the slightly weaker peer pressure of having to tell the other person you missed a session.

    3. Add accountability by telling people.

    By telling people about your new training practice and the goals you have made, you are basically recruiting an army of people who will hold you accountable. If you spread the word on Facebook that you have now taken up running (for example) and post your progress there, people will start asking you what is going on if you miss a session. They want to know about your progress, and posting progress that you’re proud of having achieved will keep you going.

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    4. Schedule the time to train.

    This one is so simple, but is probably the most overlooked thing to do. Don’t just say “I am going to train 3 times a week”—put specific times and dates into your calender with reminders and everything. If you don’t do this, other engagements will soon take over and your training sessions will be few and far between.

    When I took up runnin,g I got myself a partner who is a better runner with more experience; we scheduled our runs at specific times 3 days a week, and I started using the Runkeeper app to post results on Facebook after every session. This kept me going in the beginning long enough for me to form the habit of running.

    What do you do to make sure you keep to your new training program?

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    Featured photo credit:  interior of an old gym for bodybuilding via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

    Reference

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