1. Find your why.
Firstly, why are you actually trying to make this change in your life? Some of us, if we are honest, don’t want to go to the gym. We do it because we think we should. So ask yourself, “Why am I actually doing this?” Motivation can be broken down into two separate groups, internal and external.
External motivators are targets such as losing 10kgs or fitting into that pair of jeans that miraculously seem to have shrunk after lockdown. Target based goals are short term, you either will or won’t make that target. Once you either have or haven't it can often be tough to keep your new habit up, especially if you don’t really enjoy it in the first place.
Internal motivators are much more effective in helping people stick to their goals. That’s because they are more focused on how you feel. Motivators such as being able to play with your kids without getting out of breath, feeling happier and healthier or maintaining your mobility into later life will all be much more effective ways of keeping your new habit up. If you tie your goals to how you feel rather than a specific target the chances of keeping it up improve significantly.
2. Pick an activity you enjoy.
I have lost count of the amount of gyms I have joined over the years. For me being trapped indoors whilst trying to avoid looking at my sweaty, exhausted reflection in the mirror is a fresh kind of hell. But I kept going as I thought I was the problem. The reality is willpower will only get you so far. Once your willpower wanes, and it will if you don't enjoy it, you will stop going.
There are so many ways to be active ranging from nice and gentle to extreme and hideous. Run, swim, cycle, zumba, yoga, pilates, bootcamp (my personal favourite), HIT, spin, exercise classes, crossfit, a brisk walk, pole dancing, aquafit, badminton, table tennis, climbing, rollerblading, capoeira, barre classes, skipping, dancing, hula hooping and many more. It doesn’t have to be hideous, it’s all exercise. The key is just move. Your body will thank you for it.
A patient even recommended this recently.. www.jumpfituk.com It looks bonkers but she loves it!
3. Make it sociable.
A partner in crime can help you stick to your plan and make whatever you do more enjoyable and fun. If you don’t know anyone who wants to take up your specific activity there are local groups and apps like Meetup which are a great way of bringing people of all fitness and abilities together. I myself am a member of a Meetup group called ‘terrible footballers’ It’s great and there are many other sports to choose from. If you are a runner then perhaps consider joining a running club to help get you out of the door on these cold winter days!
4. Create a plan.
Don’t be too ambitious, rather than exercise 6 days a week pick 2-3 days and go from there. Avoid the boom bust mentality that can stop people in their tracks. There is a great plan for running called the Couch to 5k or c25k which I have used in the past. It’s brilliant at getting you to run 5k without making it too painful.
5. Have a date in the diary.
This one is more for the runners but a target race can really help keep you going. Whether it’s a park run, a 10k or a marathon, an event on the horizon is a great way of sticking to your plan.
6. Take it easy.
Hopefully this is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to being more active and mobile. Create a good relationship with the exercise you choose by not pushing yourself so hard that you hate it. The reality is any movement and activity is better than nothing. Keep it simple and sustainable.
7. Be flexible.
As i said previously you are trying to create a lifelong habit. It will take a while till it becomes routine but a “bend but don’t break” approach is always best. Along the way there will be colds, bad days, injuries etc. (that’s where we come in) but being active is one of the best ways to remain pain free and mobile which ultimately means fewer trips to the osteopath!
Good luck! There may be days when you struggle to put your trainers on and get out of the door but if you are like me you will always be glad you did.
If you are struggling with an issue that's preventing you from sticking to your goals and are unsure if anything can be done to help? We offer a free 15 minute chat to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Just call the clinic on 0208 088 0442 or hit the book online button on the home page
Thanks for reading!