Working out is tough when you constantly fight yourself. Here is how you can change your ways and become an exercise junkie.
Sticking to an exercise routine is tough when starting out. It hurts, you sweat, it’s frustrating and my god the time – there is never enough flippin’ time.
Sticking to it for a month seems like a herculean task and the thought of liking exercise and doing it forever seems like a pipe dream right up there with being independently wealthy.
You seem to come up with a laundry list of reasons to skip it and no reasons to do it. One skipped workout goes to 2, which turns into missing a week to eventually you’re just graciously paying the gym’s rent without getting anything in return. On second thought, maybe you are independently wealthy.
But the aspirations from before haven’t left – you still want to lose weight but don’t know how to get there. Those beginner aspirations are fading into hopelessness. Maybe working out just isn’t for you.
Before we lose all hope and start fashioning table cloths into shirts, let me show you how to develop an exercise habit. It’s actually a lot easier than you think if you have a system or framework to use.
Thankfully I have such a thing. I’ve used this for dieting, exercise, starting this website and reading.
I’ve tried the bull rush approach and it didn’t work. It takes a special circumstance to pull that off. I prefer the long game, each time pushing just a little further. It’s easier, has a higher success rate and well it’s easier. Huge fan of easy.
BECOMING AN EXERCISE JUNKIE
No one became a drug addict overnight just like no one became an exercise junkie overnight. It took time and a certain level of dedication. One habit commendable and looked up to, the other leaves you sucking some d for some coke.
FIND YOUR JAM
This should be a no brainer, find a form of exercise that you enjoy. If you enjoy it, it’s a lot easier to do and in turn your success rate goes up. Lifting weights isn’t the only exercise in town. Go for a walk, run, yoga or if it tickles your fancy, larping. (if you check out the video, fast-forward to 40 sec and the kid flashing a west coast sign. F’n boss)
Personally, larping or cross-fit aren’t my jam. I like old school lifting. I’m not saying either is bad or one is better than the other, it’s just weight lifting is my jam. So I stick with it.
MAKE IT A PRIORITY
After you found your jam, it’s time to fit it into your schedule. Find a consistent time each day to have you time. Personally, I think the morning is the easiest time. No one wakes up early.
During the week, by 7am, I’ve already ate twice, read, worked out, planned my day, checked emails and showered. If no one is up, that means no one can disturb you. I’ve had a full day before most people open their eyes for the first time. By the way, this is all coming from the guy that used to sleep until noon.
My concerns with going after work are 1) you’re tired 2) you have to cook dinner 3) you worked late 4) the kids need a ride to [where ever kids go]. I could go on and on. The truth is, there are way too many excuses to skip.
Like I said before, I’m all about easy and for me, the morning is the easiest. The only hurdle I have to jump is getting out of bed – not the laundry list of other excuses after work holds.
MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FAIL
I’m all about lofty goals when it comes to something you already do. Setting lofty goals when trying to change a habit (which we are trying to do here) is setting yourself up for failure.
Remember back in 1st or 2nd grade when you were learning to write the letters of the alphabet? How successful do you think you’d be if the teacher told you to write a 10,000-word paper with proper grammar and spelling when you were still writing your R’s backwards? Unless mom wrote it, my guess is not too successful.
That’s about what going from no exercise to 5 days a week for an hour is like. Let’s drop the bar of success a little, then we can ramp up.
There are 2 paths here, 1) aim for 1-2 days a week for the full amount of time or 2) go 5 days a week for 5 minutes.
Both have a low bar of success. The second one sounds stupid but it’s more about getting in the habit rather of exercising than getting a solid workout in. Over time you are going to want to do more, it’s just getting over than initial hurdle that sucks.
GET A FRIEND
Accountability is a pretty big deal when it comes to changing habits. This is why you need to bring a friend on your fitness journey. If one person is losing motivation, the other one has your back.
The bigger the group the more this an amplified. If you really struggle with staying motivated, then try something like crossfit or a class atmosphere. Most of the time you end up going to see the people rather than exercising itself.
If you prefer the one-man wolf pack approach, like I do, then abuse social media. Post progress pics or just post that you are going to the gym at an un-godly hour. The words of encouragement will come it.
FIND HAPPINESS IN THE LITTLE THINGS
This is the best indicator of success. Learn it, use it and love it. There are going to be a lot of little wins along your journey, find happiness in them. Getting up early it a win. Making it to the gym is a win. Making positive progress towards your goal is a win.
Don’t focus on the end results, focus on the process, the results will come. Wins don’t have to come in the form of PR’s or records. The fact that you are actively taking steps towards bettering yourself is a win in itself. Find happiness in that.
There is nothing wrong with a little positive reinforcement, it works for dogs and it works for us. It acts as a little goal that helps you stay on course.
Go out and buy that dress you’ve been eying or those new fancy Jordans. Hell, if that pizza from the Greek place down the street on a Saturday is what keeps you eating clean all week then indulge my friend.
The only caveat I have is with using food as a reward. If you can maintain healthy eating throughout the week then go for it. But limit it to one meal with friends. Don’t reward yourself everyday either you’ll be sabotaging your progress, stick to weekly and if you can swing it, monthly. Believe me the indulgence will be so worth it.
COMPARE BUT DON’T COMPARE
Comparing yourself to others is a losing battle. That other person could have been doing lifting way longer than you have or have some genetic anomaly that allows them to lift more than you. They could be on chapter 15 when you’re only on 2. You don’t know.
What you should be doing is comparing yourself to you. Are you better than yesterday? Are you closer to your goal? If you can answer yes, then you’re heading in the right direction. Be happy with that.
Before I leave you to become an exercise junkie, I wanted to talk about exercising when tired.
Sometimes we confuse not moving a lot with being actually tired. We sit all day at work and by the time we leave it feels like we haven’t slept in 2 days. In this instance you aren’t tired, you just feel “lazy tired”.
A simple way to figure this out is to take a 5-minute walk. If you are legit tired you won’t wake up any more than before the walk. But if you are just lazy tired, then you’ll perk right up.
I use that whenever I think about getting a coffee. If I’m legit tired I’ll dose up on caffeine, if I’m lazy tired the walk usually perks me up for a few hours.
So if you are considering skipping exercise because you feel tired just take a 5-minute walk. If you perk up then it’s time to exercise, if you are legit tired exercise but cut it in half. Trust me your future self will thank me.
What is the one thing you are going to start this week using (or not using) this system. Comment below.
If you know someone who could benefit from this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. 2 out of 3 people are obese today, let’s start a change.