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Getting consistent with exercise is a major health challenge that most adults struggle with … repeatedly. The biggest and most common threats to consistency include illness or injury and believing you don’t have enough time to make it a part of your daily routine.
If consistency is a challenge for you, what’s the solution?
First, start by making a list of all the reasons you aren’t consistent with exercise right now. What’s hindering your ability to do some kind of exercise most days?
Next, review what made you more consistent in the past. Be specifics with the details. If you were successful exercising consistently in the past, what would it take to use some of the successful strategies now?
Maybe your circumstances and daily routines have changed enough that what worked before won’t work now. You need some new ideas!
Ways to Increase Consistency
I’ve got you covered with the following 20 simple ways to get consistent with exercise. The list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good start. Make a note of those that might be a possible solution to the consistency challenge for you.
- Set realistic expectations. Part of being consistent with exercise starts with committing to a reasonable plan. For example, deciding to run 5 miles a day may not set you up for success because you’re out of shape. What is a reasonable commitment for you to make right now?
- Exercise first thing in the morning. By doing it first in your day, you don’t need to depend on enough physical energy. There are no curve balls that can throw you off track. Another bonus: no need to take 2 showers and apply your makeup twice 😊
- Prep the night before. Move as many of your morning to-dos to the night before so that you don’t feel like you’re out of to time to exercise. Layout your clothes—check. Make lunches—check. Gather everything you need for the day and put it by the door or even in the car—check.
- Find your why. Ask yourself the question “why do I want to consistently exercise” 4-5 times until you get to your foundational why. For example, I want to exercise consistently because it’s good for my health. Why? Consistently exercising will help me lose some weight. Why is this important? My doctor has mentioned I need to lose some weight to reduce the risk of diabetes that runs in my family. Why is this important? I’ve lost relatives to the disease in their prime years, and I don’t want that to happen to me. Why is this important? I want to achieve my dream of a successful career. Your foundational why for exercising consistently is to take care of your health so that you reduce the chances of getting diabetes and not living long enough to achieve your professional dreams.
- Make a Plan B for typical challenges like illness or lack of time. When you’re not feeling well, which symptoms signal you should opt out of exercise for the day? A fever and congestion that makes it hard to breathe and causes a cough seem like good reasons to opt out for the day. Balancing the need to rest your body and falling off the consistent exercise wagon is tricky. Set some rules for yourself. On the days that you truly don’t have time, what is the non-negotiable amount you will complete? No matter what, can you commit to 10 minutes of body weight exercises such as squats, jumping jacks, and planks or something similar?
- Never skip a Monday. Starting off the week with exercise makes it more likely that you’ll exercise throughout the week. Pretty simple, but effective.
- Promise at least 7 minutes. Make a commitment to exercise for at least 7 minutes. If after 7 minutes you still really don’t want to exercise, then you can stop. For most of us, 7 minutes of exercise warms us up and releases positive endorphins which make us willing to continue the workout.
- Train for something. Commit to a fitness event like a half marathon or mud run that will keep you showing up for your workout. Imagine how you’ll feel when you show up to compete.
- Track your exercise and its impact. Use an app or notebook to track your exercise. Tracking it will show your progress and make you more likely to keep at it.
- Exercise at home. The beauty of this strategy is that it removes commute time to and from the gym. If you’re not comfortable working out with others, exercising at home addresses this challenge too. Streaming classes into your home seems to be the future of exercise.
- Reward yourself. Set some benchmarks that will serve as a reward opportunity. Frequent, small, non-food rewards will help train your brain to think exercise is a good thing. Getting your brain on board will definitely help with consistency.
- Get support from your family. Figure out with your partner and kids (if they’re old enough) how they can support your exercise routine. Could your partner help with daycare drop off? Could everyone start packing their own lunches the night before? What routines could be adjusted so that you can exercise consistently?
- List what you’ll gain instead of give up by exercising consistently. Flip your mindset so that you focus on the positive aspects of consistent exercise. Focusing on what you’ll get also helps track progress because you’ll have more of it over time, such as energy, better fitting clothes, confidence, etc.
- Put your workout clothes and shoes next to your bed. Seeing your clothes at bedtime reminds you of your commitment to exercise consistently. And, as your feet hit the floor in the morning, you make it much more likely that you will meet your commitment.
- Set your alarm and put it across the room. Hitting the snooze button on the alarm is all too easy. Having to get out of bed to turn it off reduces the chances of going back to sleep.
- Sleep in your workout clothes. Easy peasy.
- Find an accountability partner. When you know someone is counting on you to show up, you’re more likely to make the effort.
- Pay for a class. Spending money is a good accountability strategy.
- Mix up your exercise choices to prevent boredom. Doing different kinds of workouts during the week also increases your fitness because your muscles don’t acclimate to the same strain. Mixing it up keeps your body and brain on its toes.
- Do some kind of exercise 6 out of 7 days. Committing to exercise in some way most every day builds the consistency right into your plan. It doesn’t have to be big and hard. Just something that gets your heart rate up and your body moving. Imagine what it would be like to brush your teeth only 3 days a week. You’d have to remember when you last brushed and you’d have a built-in excuse to not brush your teeth today because you can do it tomorrow and still meet your commitment.
What will it take for you to try one or more of these strategies to get consistent exercise for at least 10 days? Even better, 30 days. Layering a few of the strategies together increases their power and helps you stay motivated.
If you’d like help getting back on track or to consider how to consistently exercise when you’re chronically stressed with low mental, physical, or emotional energy, book a clarity call with me to talk about it.