If you need a little refresher, click here. We are currently in the middle of Life Task 2: Self Direction, and today we will continue to discuss the subtask of Exercise (you can see "part 1" of exercise here).
Last week I outlined the health benefits (both physical and mental) that come about with a regular practice of exercise in life. Today, I'll outline some tips for success in developing a plan!
- Once you decide what you want to change in life, observe how it is currently playing out! We can't change what we don't know, which is why observing your current behavior is so important. Determine WHY you don't work out. What things are holding you back?
- Start setting SMART goals! You can read all about setting goals to create the highest chance of successful behavior change here.
- Don't start too big! Set yourself up by creating a realistic plan. If you don't have the time to exercise 6 days a week, don't create a plan around that! Start with something smaller (like 3 or 4 times a week), so that you experience success. Remember that balance is a key to success! Start slowly to avoid injury. It won't be helpful to go out and run a long distance the first few days and injure yourself so you can't do anything for a few weeks. Start slowly and build up gradually!
- Add some variety. It gets boring doing the same thing every day, and in the long run, it's better to use muscles in different ways. Add some variety to your plan (i.e. running 2x/week, walking 2x/week, Zumba 1x/week, strength training 2x/week - you get the point!)
- Find a workout partner: Two times a week I work out with a friend, which keeps me accountable those days. It adds fun and we get to laugh and catch up while working out. This also helps me to stay in the grove of working out the rest of the week!
- Join a class for fun! There are a lot of fun exercise classes out there (i.e. spinning, Zumba, yoga, pilates, yogalates) that can provide you the opportunity to work out while doing something fun!
- Continue to track your behavior change during the first weeks: This will help you determine what works well, and what isn't working. Don't waste your time trying to fix something that is won't work. For example, if you keep trying to get up at 5 am to work out, and you aren't successful, maybe it's time to find a new time to work out. Remember that you're trying to create a plan to lead to the highest chance of success!
Are these the only things you can do to create a plan? Absolutely not! These are simply things that I know to be helpful with many types of successful behavior change, as well as things that have been helpful for my own life. I am not a certified trainer, so I'm simply sharing some of my own ideas. It's important to talk to your doctor before beginning a tough fitness regimen.
Now it's your turn:
What have you found to be helpful in creating your own exercise plan? What hasn't worked for you?