If you set goals for the New Year, it is common for one of them to revolve around exercising more. Deep down we know exercise is good for us but often we reach a point where it becomes a chore and we just don’t want to do it anymore.
According to a New York Times report, fifty percent of all people who begin a vigorous training program will quit within a year. February especially seems to be the time when a lot of people get frustrated with their New Year exercise goals and give them up.
Maybe you’ve become injured, your clothes fit the same or your weight hasn’t changed and you’re wondering why you bother.
If you’re discouraged and ready to quit, we challenge you to swap your mindset and give it one more try.
Here’s the trick: focus on how exercise makes you feel instead of the physical results.
For long-term stick-to-it-ness, let go of what you hope to get out of your workout (defined biceps, tighter glutes, weight loss, the list can go on) and concentrate on the process instead.
You may not always feel like working out beforehand but once you are done, it usually feels pretty good, right? Being a little sweaty, pink cheeked and proud is something you should relish and enjoy.
Dial into that feeling.
Be grateful for it.
Let it lift your mood!
Let the toned legs and flatter belly be a “nice to have” (but not necessary) by-product of your hard work. No matter how you look, if you are moving, you are fighting off disease, pushing against the effects of aging, and releasing stress. That is something to smile about.
To keep the focus on feeling good about your workouts, you need to be conscious of how you work out.
Don’t go “guns blazing”.
“No pain, no gain” is an outdated exercise mantra. Despite what the Biggest Loser would have you think, you don’t have to vomit to have a productive workout. Sure, it can be fun to push your limits – it challenges and tests your fitness, but pushing to the max every day is not a sustainable way to work out.
If you condition yourself to hate working out or spend so much time injured that any fitness you gained is lost, what’s the point? Work up to an exercise load that is reasonable for your body and your schedule. No matter how hard you work, you won’t see your fitness change overnight. Remember, we are in this for the long haul. Which brings up our next point. . .
Perfection is SO overrated.
Your workout doesn’t need to be perfect to count. It just needs to exist. Workout gurus and YouTube videos would have us believe that if we can’t spring 2 feet in the air after every burpee or do a full pushup, we are doing it wrong.
Like so many other things in life, fitness is a skill that needs to be practiced. When you think you have to do it a certain way and you don’t (or can’t), you set yourself up for failure. Start with pushups from your knees. Practice them until you are on your toes lifting and lowering with the best of them. Practice and improve month after month, year over year. All you have to do is show up and give it your best. Trying is not failing.
Consistency wins every time.
Piggybacking on that, showing up time after time is winning. If any of your goals include increasing balance, developing strength, improving cardiovascular health or burning fat while building lean muscle, it is most important to be consistent in your efforts.
You simply need to show up again and again to succeed.
Don’t let your exercise goals get sucked into the fast results, instant gratification thinking pushed by mainstream media. Take a breath, enjoy how good exercise makes you feel and approach your fitness routine as a lifetime practice you can stick to that moves you towards your fitness goals. Feeling like you need to perform perfectly and to the max every time you work out will backfire. Health is not a destination you arrive at and quit.
Be the smiling person at the gym who shows up often and finds joy in their routine. See how it impacts those around you. We would love to hear how its going – let us know if you notice others starting to smile more too!