Most of the people have difficulty in getting back to an exercise regime especially after being derailed for a few days or weeks due to a variety of reasons. I felt the need to address this since I am certain that most of you earnestly want to start a healthy lifestyle which is the need of the hour. Surprisingly most of the people I interact with started well but somewhere down the line they stumbled and moved off track. It has happened to me many a times where I have moved off my exercise program for a certain period of time but eventually came back and ensured that I did make up for lost time.
Some of the points I would like to discuss over here are practical and simple to follow. Most of these are from my personal experience and they worked well for me.
Refocus and commit yourself again:
We think that we can start of from where we have stopped and doing that is easy because we were doing it earlier. This is in fact much further from the truth. On the contrary the first important step is to commit yourself and ensure that you are mentally conditioned before starting off with a new habit. It helps if we share this with our friends and close family members or better even put in on a social network for the simple reason that the more people are aware of your commitment, it is that much more difficult for you to not commit and back off. If for any reason this step is not taken then you are most likely to falter.
Focus on one goal:
It is better not to have too many goals to work on initially when you are trying to get into a new habit. Multitasking especially in goal setting is a bad idea and it is bound to make you lose track of all your goals. If you are working on waking up one hour early and going for a walk or run, just focus on it and do not add many other things like changing your sleep patterns or food intake .The idea is to completely focus on one area and slowly build around it.
Do it for at least 3 weeks:
For any new habit to be programmed in your system as a new habit, the minimum it takes is about 21 days as per studies done. Without getting into the details I feel that this is just about the right amount of time for someone to make it into a life changing habit. Since it has worked for me, I am convinced that one needs to be disciplined for 21 days if working alone and not with a Mentor or a coach to push them and walk with them.
Do the new habit at the same time of the day:
If you tell yourself that whenever you have time you will go to the gym or for a run, it usually does not happen at all. Ideally fix up a realistic time and ensure that you practice it at that particular time slot everyday to make it a habit. Usually when I do consult clients on redesigning their lives, I suggest the early morning slot (first thing in the morning) for a busy executive to dedicate time for an exercise regime. Post that, however the day goes he/she has ensured that the exercise part is taken care .
Usually most people who begin a new habit tend to do more than required, especially those who are getting back to an exercise regimen after a long gap. They feel that they can start from where they have ended and continue from there. It’s a big mistake because most of the time one tends to run out of steam and it is always a smarter option to work your way up slowly and diligently. For example if you were earlier running 5 Km every time you hit the treadmill or the road, make it 3 Km and slowly build on it. You get the idea. Start slowly or you will have a harder time sticking with it. Once you’re back in the habit, you can increase your workload.
Learn from your mistake:
There is a pretty good reason why you stopped the last time you went on an exercise regimen. Look at the areas where you might end up slipping and make sure that you take care of it beforehand.Just like John Powell says “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”. Be sure to work on this, otherwise you will be bound to slip up again.
Celebrate initial success @ the beginning:
It is important that you acknowledge your initial success in the beginning to make you feel more focused. By rewarding yourself in a small way you are bound to recondition your mind which will certainly make you more persistent and consistent during those golden 21 days. This will eventually make it a life changing habit.
I sincerely do hope that this would help all those of you who always wanted to get back to a exercise regimen. There is no better day than today to begin a new habit and I would be mighty pleased to hear from you.