If you’re someone who saw Nike’s “Every Damn Day” campaign and shuddered at the thought of working out seven days a week when you can hardly manage one...we hear you, and we’re here to help.
Getting into a routine of any kind can be challenging, and working out is certainly no exception. If, by chance, you’re someone who lives and breathes “Every Damn Day”...this is for you, too. Who knows, you might learn something new.
Schedule ahead of time, and do not cancel on yourself
Ah, planning. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when it comes to working out, it could play a pivotal role for you. Pre-planning workouts allows us to have set times dedicated to exercise, thereby skirting the inevitable miscellaneous tasks that always seem to pop up “right when you were going to work out”.
Think of working out as a meeting you’ve set with yourself. This Sunday evening (or whatever day/time works best for you), take look at the week ahead of you and find a couple of 30-60 minute windows to set aside for yourself. Schedule a class, pen it in your planner, and/or add it to your phone calendar. You wouldn’t break plans with your best friend or your spouse, so why treat plans with yourself any differently?
“Lean on me, when you’re not strong”
We’re big fans of having accountabilibuddies. Sure, you can look within yourself to hold yourself accountable to an exercise routine. Even better, you can lean on a friend to make sure not only that you make it to your workout, but you try your hardest while you’re there. In a study of 1000 women, Virgin Active concluded that 31% of women identified their friends as their main motivation for staying in shape. Peer motivation plays a large role in getting us to exercise.
This principle can especially be helpful for those daunting early morning workouts. Having a friend to hold you accountable for getting out of bed can certainly help.
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According to author Charles Duhigg of The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in Life and Business, “An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile. It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.” Some people really, really love sneakers, and, rightly, may use working out as a way to justify buying a shiny new pair. Granted, new shoes might not get you up and moving, but maybe concert tickets or a new pair of headphones will.
Reward yourself and your progress, but don’t get too carried away. Pro tip: try to reward yourself with items that will continue to fuel your healthy habits vs. food items. Make it to all of your weekday workouts? Treat yourself and your family/friends to a trip to the beach or tickets to the Zoo, enjoy the nature and get your steps in. For more non-food reward ideas, try this list from Anytime Fitness.
Exercise the way you want to
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this. Some people enjoy a challenge - the boxing, HIIT, Orangetheory Fitness’ of the world are what get them excited to move. Some people prefer more mindful exercises like yoga, and that’s okay, too. The key to maintaining a workout routine is to find the style of fitness that interests you most. If you’re not interested in what you’re doing, chances are, you’re not going to want to do it consistently. Do remember that too much of the same exercise can cause burnout or a plateau. Be sure to sample other styles to switch things up a bit!
You might not become an “Every Damn Day”- er right off of the bat, but with consistency, you will transition from a “Some Damn Days” to “Most Damn Days”, no sweat. Okay, with some sweat.