Sticking to a workout routine or building any new habit can be a challenging task. However, using a few simple tools to slowly build up habits 1% at a time, can bring a successful outcome.
I drew ideas for this post from a book called "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. This book has an interesting story about an event in the author's life and how it led him to become a writer focusing on habit building and the science and psychology behind it. His approach is all about small changes building to bigger ones.
1. Change Your Mindset
Self-talk is a powerful way to change your mindset Rerouting your inner by dialog changing the things you say to yourself from "I have to workout" to "I want to workout" or "If I don't workout, I won't be healthy" to "I am going to feel so good after this workout." Shift the way you perceive the activity through positive self talk. Just identify the negative thought and shift it to a positive one.
2. Take It Easy
I bet you haven't heard someone tell you to "take it easy" when talking about workout routines! If you go too hard too fast you are at high risk for burnout and injury. Starting small gives you the opportunity to be successful, build confidence while gaining strength slowly. For example, If you want to be able to run a 5K, you don't just go out and run 5K after not running for years. You take it easy, start with 1/2 to 1 mile walk and work up slowly over time to a 1/2 to 1 mile run and so on. Take your levels of intensity slow and steady and work up to it as you grow stronger over time. Start with small goals that are easy to attain, and then build upon that.
3. Affirm Out loud
Affirming to yourself out loud is a powerful tool to stay on track. When you feel unmotivated to workout say to yourself out loud "I am feeling unmotivated to do my workout today but I know that after I finish I will feel great and proud of myself. I also know that if I don't do this workout, I will feel guilty for not doing what I said I would do." Laying out the positive and negative reinforcements you will face post workout and saying it out loud helps you see what is clearly the better choice.
4. Get An Accountability Buddy
Finding support is key to sticking to a new routine. An accountability partner is someone who will cheer you on and help keep you accountable. This person can be supportive verbally as your cheerleader or they can be someone that you workout with which gives you someone else to "show up" for. You can be accountable to each other if you have similar goals. This person can be a friend, parent, sibling, health coach or anyone who will be an uplifting voice of support. If you don't have someone like this in your life there are tons of Facebook groups or other online support groups that can help you find a buddy to stay accountable to.
I hope these tips help you stick to your workout routine. I highly suggest you read the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear if you want a deeper dive into this topic that can apply to any area of your life for building new positive habits and change.
Amy Francis is a certified and experienced group fitness trainer, personal trainer and nutritional coach based in Colorado. 15 years in the fitness industry with many happy clients, Amy offers in person and virtual classes. Try some classes for free!
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."