Now that the lovey dovey Valentine's Day talk is over, let's talk about an important topic: Commitment. Are you committed? Often we fall in love with the idea of working out, get excited, make big plans and then fail to follow through. Once the excitement wears off and reality of the hard work sets in we give up and move on. Just like a love that loses it sizzle, we get bored and start looking for the next thing. How can we stay committed when we want a lasting relationship with fitness?
I'm not going to pretend that I am always motivated. I'm just like you. I have a job, a small business, home responsibilities, a blog (or two) and a social life (just kidding about that last one). I sometimes feel tired, skip workouts or tell myself "I'll get back on track tomorrow." It happens, even to trainers, but I do make movement and nutrition a priority in my life. That means that even if I don't get in a traditional workout, I make sure I am still moving and feeding myself properly to ensure I look, feel and perform my best. I hold myself to high standards but I don't allow negative self-talk if I fall short. I do the best I can with what I have.
There are some strategies you can put in place to ensure you stick to your fitness goals long after the honeymoon is over, for a lifelong commitment to health and fitness.
COMMIT TO FIT
Put it on your calendar, just like you would for a doctor's appointment or a dinner date. I find that if I schedule my workout for first thing in the morning it is less likely to get brushed off. I like getting my workout or a long walk done before life gets in the way.
MAKE IT FUN
Fitness doesn't have to be 3 sets of 12 reps on each major muscle three times a week. If that sounds boring, do something else. Find a way to move your body that is fun for you and commit to it. Dancing, running, climbing and playing all count. You probably wouldn't continue to date someone who bored you to tears, would you? Find an exercise that you love to make it last.
FIND A PARTNER
Having a workout partner can go a long way in staying committed to our goals. The truth is we often feel more accountable to other people than we do ourselves. If we know someone is counting on us to show up we don't want to let them down. If you don't have a friend or partner that is into fitness don't give up hope. Look for community events on MeetUp, join a local class, hire a coach or look for accountability partners online.
TAKE BABY STEPS
Start small and build the habit first. 15 minutes a day of exercise is always better than an hour you didn't do. Commit to just 15 minutes a day. Do it until it becomes routine. You have the rest of your life to grow, it is ok to start small. Besides, more is not always better in exercise. Short focused sessions can be sustainable over a lifetime. Take it slow, get to know what works best for you.
If you are working towards a goal, say your first 5k or half marathon PR, it gives you the reason to keep putting in the work every day, long after the excitement of a new workout plan has worn off.
If we want our love of fitness to last a lifetime we have to implement sustainable strategies and work hard to make it last, just like any good relationship.
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