Ever have trouble keeping to your commitments to keep up with your exercise plan? Do you ever not want to get out the door? Now that I have full medical permission to exercise outside, walking and biking, it’s easy to get derailed and let work, and in my case, writing and consulting with people on LinkedIn, get in the way of my exercise plan, or as I like to say, keep me from getting out the door and get moving!
Here are five tactics I use to keep myself focused.
Please let me know if you’ve ever used these strategies! If you have other methods you use, tell me and all of us in the comments below! I love learning from you!
1. Have your gear easily accessible and clean.
I ALWAYS have a gym bag ready to go. In it, I have clean workout clothes: everything right down to the socks! Plus a towel and filled shampoo bottles. Since I have diabetes, I also have glucose tabs packed in the bag and a few granola bars. I even keep a filled water bottle in the bag. At a moments notice I can dash to the gym!
A good friend, she keeps her cycling gear in a bag in her car. She often has one of her bikes in the back seat of the car, with a blanket over it, to discourage anyone from breaking in and taking the bike. This way, she can quickly join friends and colleagues for an after work bike ride.
2. Put on your gear, then decide.
There are days when no matter what, I don’t want to exercise. On these days, I break it down in to the smallest steps possible. I don’t say I’m going to the gym or for a walk or for a run. What I do is simply decide to put on the run outfit. Once I have the run clothing on, then it’s easier to say, “Okay, I will walk out the door and then decide if I will walk or if I will run.” Often, by this point, I am willing to actually run.
In the wintertime, I often need to break things down to these simple steps. I also talk to myself quite a bit. I tell myself to first find my cross-country skis. That’s easy to do. Then, I tell myself to find my snow pants, coat, hat, scarf and mittens. Then, I put all the clothing on. THEN I allow myself to decide if I will actually go outside and ski! As you might expect, I most often will go ahead and ski and have a great time doing it. Yes, I laugh quite a bit at myself!
3. Schedule workout dates, even with yourself. Keep the dates. Put them in your calendar, with buzzer reminders.
I have several Google calendars and one of them is specifically for my workouts. Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down with my calendar and I schedule my exercise sessions for the week. I review my training calendar and I spend at least 3 minutes visualizing the goal/event I am training for. This inspires me to make sure I am prioritizing my exercise sessions.
4. Schedule workouts with friends who will push you to keep the date.
Having accountability partners makes a huge positive difference. A few years ago, when I was training for a 100-mile bike ride, I had to do months of indoor training because there was too much snow on the ground for outside riding. (I do not, so far, do outside, cold, winter cycling!) There were six of us training for the 100-mile ride and scheduling our workouts together kept all of us engaged and having fun. Cold weather and all.
5. Use inspirational videos, like the ones I find and share on my Mari Ruddy Facebook page.
There are days when I really need some inspiration. One last strategy I have for you is to do what I do on those ‘lacking inspiration’ days, is watch a short inspirational video. I especially enjoy watching videos of older athletes who exercise. I always end up saying to myself, “If he/she, who is 88 can do that, what’s my excuse! Get going Mari!” And then I do!!
Here’s a good one of a 100 year old woman giving us an overview of her exercise routine!
There you go, a few quick tips to help you keep yourself motivated and engaged with your exercise plan. I use all these strategies and I tell you, they work!
With exercise love!