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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 November 19, 2019

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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