Staying Motivated to Stick to your Exercise Plan
You can find hundreds of reasons to embark on an exercise plan for yourself yet lose the discipline you’ve built for one or two lame reasons. Weeks of self-denial and long hours on the treadmill can leave you vulnerable to the smell of a barbecue session happening on the way home, the many fast food joints along the way or even the coziness of staying at home. You feel tired and wanting, maybe even angry and frustrated, at why you can’t seem to lose pounds as fast as you’d want to when the weighing scale thwarts your expectations of yourself. There are no shortcuts to this process, you’ll have to sweat and sacrifice, day in and day out with passion and consistency.
It’s easier to create a solid exercise plan than to muster the patience needed to hold your appetite and hunger pangs down. Luckily, you can go from disciplined to relentless if you can effectively subvert short-term satisfaction for a long-term victory. Before your sense of commitment starts caving in, you might want to step back and reassess the situation. Here are some pointers on how to stay motivated enough to stick to your exercise plan all the way till then end:
Change your paradigm of yourself.
If you always thought of yourself as a slob, couch potato or a lazy-boned person, you’re definitely going to work towards self-fulfilling prophecies. Thinking of your self in self-defeating terms only serves to reinforce the negative behavior associated with those labels. Internalize the fact that you’re thinking and become an athlete, a road warrior and a challenger of your old self and positive behavior will follow naturally. As you progress in your regimen, old habits and ways of thinking will surely pull you back. Strive to consciously reaffirm yourself and every activity you undergo will work to serve your new paradigm.
Set clear and concrete indicators of your goals.
Place visual cues around your house and workplace about your exercise plan and its milestones. Try putting a Post It with 3k on your mirror in big bold letters as a sign of how much you have to jog every two days with a corresponding punishment for every time you skip it. If it’s there to remind you and you’re strict to yourself about it, there will be little room for distractions.
Block out time for workouts.
Get a planner and set no-compromise workout schedules (except in cases of dire emergencies). By making exercise a non-negotiable in your life it becomes as essential as taking baths and brushing your teeth.
Make it cost you.
If you can afford it, pay for the services of a trainer and/or get a gym membership. If you put out money for your exercise plan, you’re less likely to skip it and let it go to waste.
Alter your routine and give it variety.
Don’t do the same exercise steps every week. Vary your rhythm and keep it fun by watching lectures by different trainers and learning new and more complicated exercises. Many people lose the discipline for their exercise plans after these turn bland and stale. Humans are designed for fun and new challenges, so alter your patterns while sticking to your main goal.
Find teams who are into the same activities.
It is easy to find jogging buddies, cycling enthusiasts and exercise aficionados who have the same goals as you go. Find ways to coordinate your schedules and compare notes. Keeping like-minded people around you can make the process fun and reinforce your belief in your goals. In this way, you can think of exercise as a team sport. You can pick each other up when one falls down, offer encouragement and celebrate victories together.
Build a support system you can rely and fall back on.
Your loved ones are your primary source of affection and fortitude in hard times. Before you can even sneak out to grab a burger, a concerned family member will remind you how much sweat you’ve poured over the week to lose it all over a few minutes of a cheap thrill. Wouldn’t you want to impress them when you complete your exercise plan and you can show off those rock-hard abs?