I remember I was studying so hard in order to get a higher paying job and the thought of adding a new workout habit to my routine made me want to throw up. I was working and studying every-single-day. So I committed to one tiny thing that took two minutes a day – entering what I ate into My Fitness Pal. Anything more than that and my brain overloaded.
Then when I started the new higher paying job the thought of adding a new workout routine made me want to throw up. At the same time I knew that adding that habit into my routine would actually reduce stress and make me more productive, but my body still physically rejected the idea.
So I committed to working out 1 to 5 days a week anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at a time. I just wanted to start and I figured I could handle 10 minutes in a week knowing full well I’d probably get a little more than that in. The first weeks were a little inconsistent. Some weeks I only worked out once or twice. A few I worked out 3 times. Then I got sick and missed a week. No big deal – why? Because I knew I was working on a new lifestyle muscle and life happens.
After keeping up with this for a while I decided to bump up my activity level and for the past month I have worked out 5 days a week consistently. The cool thing – is now that I’ve allowed myself to build up the habit at a reasonable pace, my body actually craves working out now and I enjoy doing it.
Remove the shame and guilt
Allow yourself to miss days. Duh, it takes time to remember to do something. Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day! Just recommit to the next day. It took me 6 months before I started using My Fitness Pal consistently without thinking about too much. It almost feels like brushing my teeth – but it took 6 months to get there. A part of the reason I actually got to 6 months of using it and 30 days of logging in every day is that on month 1 and 2 when I did miss a day I didn’t care, it was no big deal. I just recommitted to doing it the next day because I knew this was something that was going to give me the most bang for my buck with losing weight.
Go after what you want for the “long haul” reasons
Long haul reasons are the thing that helps bring consistency in your life. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight in order to fit into a certain size or look skinny, focus on the lifestyle you want. To have energy, to be healthy, to feel good, to feel stronger. Wanting to look good naked is not a bad thing, it is certainly a good side effect – a bonus. When you take the pressure off and you are doing something as a lifestyle change it helps to stay consistent. Then you’re able to give yourself grace if you miss a day and it won’t derail your entire week.
Allow yourself to start teeny tiny
This is tied to removing shame and guilt. A lot of people feel embarrassed about starting small – as if they are not good enough for not being farther ahead when just starting out. Just stop that nonsense right now (you know I’m saying that with love and from personal experience). Besides everyone loves an underdog anyways!
Will Smith says, “You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.”
Have one power partner that is starting the habit with you
This is optional because it is certainly doable to start a habit by yourself. I find that habits are a little easier to start and keep when there is a sense of community involvement.
Chillax on the shame and guilt that you lay on your shoulders.
Recognize your “long haul” reasons for doing things so you get more consistent results.
Don’t be afraid to start at ground zero. And don’t be afraid to mess up and look dumb – because really you don’t look dumb.
What is one teeny tiny thing you can start doing today that will bring you close to something you want?
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