The school year is upon us. Shorter days, colder weather, heavier traffic.
Parents pulling kids from their beds.
September offers a fresh start to hit the fitness ground running.
90% of people though never achieve any of the goals they set out for themselves.
So before you jump head first into your goal. Here’s five proven ways that will keep you exercising come Christmas.
At the start of any goal, motivation is at its highest. But this enthusiasm wanes (how are those January resolutions going?).
Unfortunately your health and weight don’t really care about how motivated you feel.
Whether the kids are sick or you're feeling lazy, all that counts is your consistency.
The easiest person to fool is ourselves so relying on our own motivation to train isn’t the best plan. Instead force yourself into situations by committing yourself.
Buy yourself expensive gym gear, commit yourself up front to a personal trainer. Join a gym that takes yearly payments. Find a gym partner who is just a little better than you.
When you pre-commit, the stinging feeling of all that wasted money pierces the brain.
Tip One: Be accountable by forced commitments.
2) Have Your Why
Having a goal is great.
Wanting to lose 20 pounds. Wanting to be fitter, run longer.
All worthy goals.
After we set them though life happens. Kids get sick, works gets busy.
To overcome these excuses we need a powerful reason to want to get fit.
People in all walks of life have persevered through unimaginable times by placing meaning on the suffering.
Wanting to lose weight to look at bit better is good.
But wanting to lose weight to live long enough to see your children grow up.
Tip Two- Know why you want to lose weight.
3) Plan Ahead
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.“- Benjamin Franklin
When you don’t plan ahead, you become reactive. Constantly bouncing from problem to problem.
Never feeling in control you are at the whim to emotions or immediate obligations.
Planning ahead involves booking in advance,
So when the busy day comes up things are put in place.
Schedule the basics into your diary like
Time to exercise
Ideas for meals each day
Time to shop.
Book these in every week and treat them like a doctor’s appointment. You wouldn’t miss an important doctor’s appointment for your health.
Tip Three: Plan training, shopping and cooking ahead of time each week.
4) Have your minimum standards
Life events and situations are constantly changing.
What worked in the past might be useless in the present day. Motivation will fade. Life will just happen. You need to be ready to change when it is called for.
In an ideal world we would like to be going to the gym every single day, preparing home cooked meals and removing any semblance of junk food from our diets.
Instead of trying for this dreamland set some minimum standards for yourself.
Minimum standards actions or behaviours that you find acceptable when life really takes its toll.
Think of health as a continuum.
On one end is perfection like the meal planning and gym consistency above.
On the other end, all hell breaks loose. The gym is ignored. Takeaways and alcohol are the menu.
Setting your minimum standards stops you completely falling off the wagon. In extra busy times you might not be able to go to the gym but you can go for a walk.
You might not be able to eat the healthiest food in the world, but you can aim to increase your vegetables and avoid the supersized meals.
Step Four: Raise your minimum standards so when you do fall off the wagon, the drop isn’t so dramatic.
5) Shape the Path.
Think of any fitness goal. What are some of the words that pop in your mind? “Discipline”, “No pain No gain”, “Willpower”.
All of these things evoke the idea that fitness needs to be hard. That we need to summon Herculean mental strength to become fit.
In truth it’s the exact opposite. Those who succeed in fitness fitness use the least amount of willpower.
Those who avoid the need for constant willpower stand a much better chance at sticking to a goal.
Chip and Dan heath describe this perfectly in their book “Change”. It’s called shaping the path.
Shaping the path involves changing your environment to benefit your goals
This can be:
i) Removing all of the junk from the house.
ii) Choosing healthier social activities instead of just going to the pub,
iii) Having healthy ingredients and food ready for the week,
iv) Parking further away from work to get extra work,
v) Filling up a 2 litre bottle of water and place it in front of your work desk.
Shaping the path makes carrying out healthy behaviour easier while making temptations difficult
Tip 5: Shape the path by making desirable things easier to do and undesirable things harder to do.
Don't Go Head First
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe" - Abraham Lincoln
Over 90% of people just like you set goals every year and fail.
But understanding why you fail and sharpening your saw like Abraham Lincoln puts you in a much better place to stick with your plan.
Remember the five ways to help you stick with your goals
Shape the Path
Thanks for taking the time to read this out of your busy day. The internet is filled with constant information and time is short so thank you.