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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 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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