The hardest thing about starting something new is….starting! You have to be willing to take that first step in order to start and/or try anything. Five years ago I was the queen of starting a new workout routine; I would be gung-ho for about the first week, and then slowly start to dwindle off until I wasn’t doing really any exercise anymore. Then the process would start again. It happens to all of us; we get busy, things come up, we get sick and we prioritize other things.
The misconception with the whole “exercise routine” thing is that we believe it’s got to be a specific thing, or we think that’s what other people are doing and it’s working for them, so that’s what we believe we should do. That is not the case. What works for someone, or what a person likes to do for exercise may not be what we like, and that’s OK!
Exercise is about moving your body and having fun (while also challenging yourself)!
When we have gotten out of a routine, or are just starting one, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what to do. Here are my tips on how to get started:
Don’t spend time worrying about what you should try or not try, pick something to do and give it a go. If you don’t like it, you can trying something else! Like I said above, getting started is the hardest part! It also doesn’t have to be running 3 miles right out the gate, it can be going for a walk, taking a swim in the pool, riding a bike. Just start!
2.Find a good support system.
Whether it’s a friend, family member, personal trainer, workout class, co-worker, having people around you who are supportive of your mission of exercising more are people you want in your corner! It also makes the journey more fun.
3.Don’t pick things you know you won’t like.
When thinking about exercise, don’t pick the workout on Pinterest you see that promises you will lose 10 pounds in a week, choose something that you find enjoyable! The last thing you want to do is start doing something you really don’t like doing.
4. Set SMART goals!
Not smart as in knowledgeable or not, SMART as in: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Make your goals specific enough so that you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. The goal should be measurable such as “I want to start working out for at least 3 days per week”. Goals should also be achievable, such as, “I want to work out 3 days a week for 1 month and then increase it to 4 days a week”. You also want to make sure your goals are realistic; don’t set a goal for losing 30 pounds in two weeks, set a goal that allows you to achieve the success you are hoping to achieve. Finally, make sure the goals are timely. Give yourself a deadline on when you want to reach the goal. Using the SMART goals strategy will keep you from losing sight of it or from getting off course.
5.Build it into your schedule.
Write your exercise out in your planner; consider it to be like a meeting or doctor’s appointment, non-negotiable. You also want to make sure you choose a time that works for you. Don’t choose to exercise in the morning if you know you would rather sleep in or will have a hard time waking up, and don’t choose the evening when you know you’ll be too tired and want to skip the workout or walk.
6.Don’t just think cardio cardio cardio.
In any form of exercise, you want to get your body moving. You don’t, however, have to only think about cardiovascular exercises. Include some strength training exercises into your routine to gain strength in your body. Strength training won’t make you bulky, and it is good for your health!
7.Use rewards to incentivize yourself to keep going!
If you set a goal to workout 3 times a week for 3 months, once you reach that goal, do something to reward yourself for all your work such as getting a new outfit or buying some flowers.
8.Think about the positives.
Exercise may not be our favorite thing sometimes. It may get hard, you may be more motivated some days than others, but what is really important is thinking about the benefits of regular physical activity. Exercising on a regular basis will add years to your life!
9.Don’t allow your mind to be your biggest obstacle.
We can be our own worst critic. If we tell ourselves over and over again that we can’t do it, we won’t do it. Lift yourself up! Be your own biggest champion! You have one life to live; make sure movement and exercise are a part of it.
10. Adjust accordingly.
If something just isn’t working, change it up! Try something new! Exercise is not a one size fits all. There are thousands of things we can do to be physically active. If you don’t like one thing, there are many more to choose from.