By Tim Shores, Trainer at Healthy U Fitness
In most endeavors, the most difficult step is the initial one. Starting a business, moving to a new city, and yes, starting an exercise program. All activities in life are easier once the “movementum” has been created and a habit is formed. However, much like a river slowly changing its course through a rock bed by its unrelenting current, creating a lifestyle change is forged through a series of conscious, consistent choices. An energetic fitness celebrity can wind you up into wanting to change your life, a friend that has found a new “miracle” diet can convince you of the miracles of some passing fad, but until you have found your own motivation, it is more likely that you would experience a series of temporary changes, rather than commit to a lifestyle overhaul. Inspiration is like fireworks; exciting and intense, but ultimately fleeting. Intrinsic motivation, understanding what you’d like to change, why you’d like to make these changes, and creating a concrete plan with specific goals is the persistent river, unceasing and unwavering in its determination, even if the path isn’t always perfectly straight. There are a number of ways to tap into your own motivation, and it’s helpful to create a strategy to get yourself started, making you much more likely to commit to a more permanent change.
First, take time to reflect on your “what.” This requires more thoughtfulness than just wanting to get fit, losing a few pounds, or fitting into some old t-shirt. Defining your goals should be specific and quantifiable. By selecting goals in this manner, you can measure your levels of achievement and adjust targets as you successfully reach your initial goals. Define a weight, body fat percentage, or other concrete level of physical fitness that you can measure and track, write down your results and track on a weekly or monthly basis for the best opportunity for success.
Next, know your “why.” This is an incredibly important step, as there are many levels of “why.” Some people might want to be healthier to spend more time with their children, some people are recovering from a serious injury or illness and use exercise as a means of returning to more comfortable living. Whatever the reason for commiting to a change, write down why you started and take the time to reflect on how this outlook is affecting your journey.
Finally, we can examine the “how.” This is where change becomes a physical phenomenon, and goals become achievements. An important first step in considering how to achieve goals is to identify and plan for any barriers that might impede your progress. Things like lack of motivation, insufficient time, or lack of knowledge of exercise protocols are all common impediments to undertaking a lifestyle change, but not insurmountable. There are many resources that can help at any stage of your journey, from friends, to online resources, to fitness professionals in your area that all have some form of knowledge waiting to be tapped by you. Working out with a friend, joining a class, or finding a trainer are all excellent options for increasing motivation through accountability. Few people ignore a doctor’s appointment because it was scheduled in advance, similarly making plans to exercise will hold you accountable to another person, increasing your chances of following the plan. Telling other people of your goals increases your chances of success because of the increase in people that will be holding you accountable. Finally, lack of time is a barrier that is easier to overcome than expected. 30 minutes per day of moderate to intense exercise is sufficient to generate a positive change, and with 1440 minutes making up every single day, dedicating just 2% of your day to bettering your life is a worthwhile investment!
Healthy U Fitness is a one-on-one personal training studio dedicated to helping each individual live out their healthiest and best quality life. Our coaches provide top-quality training, nutritional and goal-setting programs to help each individual overcome their barriers and build confidence within themselves.