One of the most important aspects in reaching your health goals is consistency: creating a plan and sticking to it. Consistent exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, keeps your bones strong, increases your mood and energy, and makes you less susceptible to disease, and the effects of aging. But, even when we understand the benefits, it can still be a struggle to commit to your exercise routine. And we all know that once you’ve skipped one or two gym days, it gets easier and easier to skip more, slowing down our progress, motivation, and endurance.
We are ‘creatures of habit’, so if our routine consists of sitting on the couch instead of going to the gym, it’s going to be difficult to change that. But with dedication, hard work, and repetition, it is possible to create and maintain new habits. For most people it takes about a month of consistent behaviour to create a new habit, so if you can push through those first few weeks, your chances of sticking with your new routine go up because once something is a habit it takes less effort and willpower.
Tips for Building Consistency:
· Schedule Your Workouts: Give your exercise routine more importance by scheduling it into your day. Planning ahead and adding your workouts into your calendar makes you more likely to follow through with them because there’s nothing else that you’re supposed to be doing at that time. Make your health a priority.
· Know Your ‘Why’: Write down all of the reasons why you started on this fitness journey, so when you’re feeling discouraged you can refer back to them. Make a note of your goals, what made you decide to work towards these changes, what motivates you to keep going, and how you’ll feel when you accomplish these goals.
· Be Realistic: When creating your plan, account for the reality that life doesn’t always go as we plan. It’s important to be adaptable and forgiving for when things don’t work out perfectly. Your program shouldn’t be so strict that you can’t follow it without upsetting other areas of your life, like work and family. Start small and work up to bigger time and energy commitments so you can get a feel for what is sustainable in your life.
· Avoid an ‘All or Nothing’ Approach: Take your journey one step at a time, because each one of those steps is getting you closer to your objective. Relapses happen to everyone, but dwelling on our mistakes won’t make them better, so dust yourself off and try again the next day. Focus on re-committing yourself to your goals every day, and go from there.
· Enjoy the Process: While it’s good to keep your end goal in mind as incentive to continue working hard, it’s just as important to appreciate all of the steps you’re taking on your way there. Celebrating the small wins will boost your self-confidence and motivate you to keep sticking to your routine.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” (Will Durant) This January we created the challenge where the member who attended the most group fitness classes would win a free AHS toque, as a way to encourage and celebrate our participants’ consistency! We love to see the effort and commitment our members give towards leading a healthier life. We have two outstanding movers, both having been to eleven classes in the month, so our January Challenge has ended in a tie, and two more happy AHS toque wearers!