Procrastination – The Arch Enemy of Success
The majority of us do it at some point in our life… and hey, some of us might do it every day… procrastination has a way of finding its way into many corners of our life.
At home it usually happens around housework… “I’ll take the rubbish out after the footy” or “I’ll wash up in the morning”…
When it comes to exercise, the excuses are endless… “I’ll exercise after work”… then after work, it’s “oh I feel a bit tired… I’ll exercise in the morning”… then after going to bed too late and sleeping through the alarm, you repeat the procrastination game.
Sometimes the excuses are more elaborate… “I need to buy a new pair of sneakers first and if I’m doing that I should probably book an appointment with the podiatrist to check if I’ll need orthotics”.
1. Make sure you set yourself realistic goals. If you work a 55hr week, have a 1-2hr daily commute to/from work, plus family responsibilities, it might be a little bit unrealistic to expect yourself to go to the gym for 1hr, 6 days a week. Chances are, you’d be lucky to get there twice and the remaining four days would be guilt-ridden. Often this will make you abandon the idea of exercise completely.
It is important that EVERY exercise experience is positive. A better approach might be to allocate one gym day per week initially, and a 20 minute walk in your lunch break on another day. It is better to start off with smaller, achievable exercise goals and build up slowly until you are getting 150min/week of cardiovascular exercise.
2. Schedule Your Workout times in your diary or on your calendar. Scheduling workouts at a similar time and on set days can develop a routine. This allows others to learn your routine so they can work around it too. Once it’s in your diary, you treat it as you would any other appointment.
It is important to schedule exercise at a time when you’re most likely to do it. Don’t schedule it into times where you are likely to be too tired or hungry. Personally I find that exercising in the morning is best because you reduce the chance of “not being able to fit in exercise” later.
3. Get an exercise buddy. Find someone else of a similar fitness level to train with, and who is expecting you to meet them at a certain time and place, and then you are more likely to commit to training times that you’ve scheduled in your diary.
4. Get a Personal Trainer. A personal trainer is an even more committed version of the exercise buddy. A personal trainer is an appointment in your diary, that in some cases you will have to pay for even if you miss the session… this can be a great incentive to make sure you turn up! The advantage of a personal trainer is that you don’t need to think of the exercises yourself and you are more likely to train harder than if you were doing it on your own.
5. Document Your Progress. This is a great way to stay motivated. If you regularly review your progress and can easily see your improvements, you’ll be motivated to keep going.
6. Reward yourself regularly. Bribes work with kids… why not you? If you make the bribe good enough, you’d be surprised what you might do. Try getting a group of friends together with similar fitness goals and “pool together” for a super prize! Or buy yourself some new clothes whenever you reach a weight loss goal…Whatever works.
7. Bargain with yourself… say you’ll just do 5 minutes. You might not feel like exercising, but tell yourself that you’ll start your program and only do 5 minutes and then if you still don’t feel like doing it you’ll stop. Most times you’ll finish your program.
8. Take the approach that every bit counts. Incidentals count… hide the remote control! Make yourself take the stairs… park the car further away at the shops or at appointments… get off the bus or train one stop earlier… take the kids to the park and chase them around…or try getting up off the couch every ad break and move around (e.g. march on the spot or do pushups etc)
9. Choose exercise activities that fit with your lifestyle. If you are a busy mum with 3 kids under 3, it is unlikely that you can get to the gym 5 days a week. Similarly, if you are a corporate executive working a 60 hr week and commuting it is also unlikely that you’ll head to the gym straight after work at 8pm each day.
So pick exercise activities and times that fit with your lifestyle. A busy mum might be better off combining her exercise time with activities that include the kids. Pushing the pram off-road (i.e. not on pathways or the road) is an excellent workout for new mums. Or just chase the kids around for an hour at the park. It is also important for kids to learn that exercise is a part of daily life. Exercising as a family can have a very positive affect on family dynamics… like one of the sayings goes… the family that plays together – stays together.
10. Pick activities that are fun. There are so many forms of exercise; you should be able to choose something that you find enjoyable. For example, you might love looking at houses, so walk through a neighborhood full of great houses. Or ride a bike along the beachfront. Or swim or dance… Whatever you enjoy – do it!
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