Maintaining physical fitness is not an easy task, it’s something that eludes a lot of people. Fitness goals require physical discipline as well mental strength. Below I list a few mental tricks and physical tips to help you commit to your new fitness routine. It takes 21 days to build a habit. Humans are creatures of habit but we are also adaptable. Committing to a new skill for 3 weeks will help solidify the routine in not only your daily schedule but also your drive. After 3 weeks, the addition of the new skill won’t be such a chore, but rather a mindless part of your everyday.
A little goes a long way so start small and work up: break up your ultimate goal into seemingly more attainable steps. If running a 5K is too daunting at first, start with walking one mile. If walking one mile seems like too much, start with getting up and walking around the house. Every step forward is progress. Your mental health plays a huge role in your physical goals. Without your ambition, your goals will never be a reality. You have to want to make those first steps so do not downplay the importance of intention. Once you are comfortable with those first steps, moving forward doesn’t seem as daunting.
But how to start those first steps? Whether your goal is running or yoga or better eating habits, it all starts with intention and it is maintained with accountability. Most people are visual learners so creating a vision board is one way to see the goals you want to achieve. Print out pictures that illustrate your end goal: whether it’s a picture of someone smiling while they run or an advanced yogi doing a headstand, seeing what your goal looks like could inspire you to work at that new skill. Whatever your goals are, find pictures to represent that and put those pictures in a place you have to walk by constantly. Place your vision board in the hallway, in your bedroom, or by the front door, wherever you feel is a good place to remind yourself of that intention.
Another way to hold yourself to accountability is to journal. By creating a fitness journal, you can keep track of days you completed your workout as a visible representation of your progress. Similar to the vision board, you can use a habit calendar, a space to highlight the work you’ve done so far. Your journal can be as involved as you want it to be, color coded, bullet points, calligraphy or bubble letters, whatever will help keep you interested and engaged. If you struggle with getting started, download the free habit tracker included in this article. See your daily routine will help you be honest about your accountability.
The point of a goal is that it’s outside our comfort zone and comfort zones are a difficult place to break out of. You are not alone if you are working towards a goal and struggling. As I write this, I find it difficult to get out of bed and actually start my daily yoga practice. Instead of committing to a full hour, today I will strive to do just five minutes. Sometimes starting is the most difficult part. Once I’ve started, I often find that I want to keep going, so see if that mentality helps push you further.
That is one way to physically start your fitness journey, by pushing yourself, but sometimes letting ourselves down is easier than letting down others. If that sounds like you, then find yourself an accountability buddy. Often working together helps push you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Letting yourself down is one thing but letting down a friend can sometimes feel worse. Whether your accountability buddy is at the same fitness level as you or more advanced, get someone that you are comfortable with. Be honest and upfront about your abilities and your goals so you both can support each other properly.
Don’t be discouraged if you are starting with baby steps. Baby steps are still steps forward, it is still progress that you weren’t making before. By incorporating your new fitness skills into your daily routine, however you can, you are bringing yourself closer to your ultimate goals. Remember to push through when it gets tough. If you can make it to three consistent weeks, then that’s half the battle!