Sticking to your fitness plan isn’t always easy, is it? Life gets busy and things get in the way. However, one of the secrets to unlocking success in sticking to your fitness plan is to be prepared for what lies ahead. In practice, this is just as much about the thoughts, habits and associations that you have built around health and fitness, rather than any amount of organisation. To help set you up for victory in sticking to your fitness plan, here are 8 mindful actions to implement in your daily life.
At Active8me, we strongly advocate working out first thing in the morning. There are many science-backed reasons why this is positive for your physical health, but it also plays a role in your mental health. By setting your alarm for the next morning with the intention to exercise, you are making yourself a promise. There will be plenty of excuses you give yourself to justify breaking your own promise – I’m too tired; I’m not a morning person; I might wake my partner; I’ll do it later.
The key here is to picture your goal body, how you want to look, feel and act in that lean, toned body. Then think of consequences of breaking your promise – you remain looking the same, feeling worse and not acting on anything. By keeping the first promise of the day, you will find it leads to making more positive decisions throughout your day. It creates a habit that makes sticking to a fitness plan a whole lot easier.
To do – Set your Alarm NOW and promise yourself that you will workout in the morning. No excuses!
Sometimes sticking to a fitness plan is purely about perception. Do you view exercise as a chore and as purely a means to an end? Something you have to do as opposed to something that you enjoy and want to do? Well, if that’s how you see a fitness plan, then you’re likely to find it difficult to stick to! Yes, it isn’t always easy, comfortable or instantly gratifying. But, if you try looking at a fitness plan as a process to ‘jump start’ you to an active lifestyle then your relationship with exercise and your ability to stick to a fitness plan will improve.
Be the boss of your thoughts. Consider your fitness plan as your own conscious, empowered choice. Something you want to do – for the endorphins, the self-pride, the self-confidence, the stress outlet, the me-time and so on. A choice that you’ve made to look and feel better. Forever.
To do – Come up with a positive mantra that you can repeat a few times each day, especially while you’re exercising. Eg. This will make me lean, fit, strong and fast… lean, fit, strong and fast… lean, fit, strong and fast.
Be prepared. Prepare for successfully sticking to a fitness plan by examining what hasn’t worked for you in the past. It’s only a failure if you’ve learned nothing from it. By examining what you have done in the past surrounding exercise and fitness, you can put a go-to action plan in place as a fail-safe. You need to be completely honest here. What excuses have you used in the past and how can you overcome them now? What circumstances and environment has made it difficult to stick to your fitness goals in the past and how can you avoid them this time around?
To do – Make a list of each excuse that you’ve used in the past to avoid a fitness plan or for why you haven’t stuck to a fitness plan. Then, next to each excuse, write how you will manage these obstacles. It helps to ‘brainstorm’ these with a friend, as they may have a different outlook to you.
It’s hard enough dealing with all your own demons when it comes to sticking to a fitness plan. But, when you’re faced with other factors like friends, family and colleagues who seem to be sabotaging your efforts it seems like a minefield. It’s hard to resist skipping a workout when your friends are encouraging you to go straight to the bar after work. Or, your partner wants to cuddle through your early morning workout alarm. Or, your grandparents pinch at your body and say, ‘you don’t need to workout’.
To do – Make an honest assessment of those people who derail your best efforts. Come up with an action plan for dealing with each individual situation. It can be a subtle and polite decline, a healthy alternative or you may want to encourage them to join you.
If you wait for inspiration or motivation to suddenly fall from the sky and make you leap into a fitness plan, you may be waiting a long time! Even the most dedicated athletes who are striving for world records find motivation evades them on certain days. But, they stick with their training schedule or fitness plan anyway. They have their end goal in mind. They have a plan and they schedule their exercise into their day, whether they ‘feel’ like it or not. Their motivation is pre-scheduled. Making an appointment to exercise is a powerful tool for your ability to stick to a fitness plan. Prioritise it like you would a doctor’s appointment or a dentist check-up, as it is just as important for your physical and mental health.
To do – Mark out and schedule your fitness plan onto a calendar. Just like a meeting. You could go old fashioned and use some colour highlighters or add it to your phone. Then mark off every workout you complete. The trick is – don’t break the chain of good work you have achieved!
If you’re starting a fitness plan to lose weight, there is one very important ingredient that you may not have thought about. Research says that support is a critical factor in weight loss. At Active8me, we advocate having an ‘accountability buddy’. This is someone you can trust to keep you on track, help motivate you when you call upon them and provide support when you feel most vulnerable in your weight loss journey. Plus, it’s more fun participating in a fitness plan if you have a friend to share the high fives with.
To do – Rope a friend into committing to specific workouts during the week. Lock them into your schedule and don’t let them down!
Keep it real. Starting a fitness plan is a great step in the direction of healthy, active living. But, don’t expect immediate miracles. You are not going to be instantly fit, lose weight or have a toned body after one workout, or even a week of sticking to your fitness plan. It takes time, no matter how much you wish it was otherwise. Plus, don’t forget that your workout plan is only one part of being healthy. Your nutrition (what you eat and how much you eat) makes the biggest difference to the results you want to see and feel. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, of course! How do you see transformation? One workout, one good meal, and one positive thought at a time!
To do – Set a big goal and then break it down into smaller goals that you work towards each week of your fitness plan. Perhaps, a slightly heavier weight each week during your weight training session?
Sticking to a fitness plan is something worth celebrating. Measure your success based on how well you achieved your weekly goal, as opposed to a number on the weight scales. After all, remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so your weight isn’t the best measure of your body composition change. So beyond more scientific body fat measurements, the way you feel, the way you look in the mirror or the way your clothes fit can reflect your success much better than the scales.
To do – Buy some new workout gear or a funky water bottle. Treat your tired, well-worked muscles to the massage they deserve.
At Active8me, we want to equip you with the tools that help you succeed. Our app is full of scheduled workouts in a fitness plan that caters specifically to the needs you have and the results you want to see. Try our FREE 21-Day Trial today.