As soon as your alarm goes off in the morning you have a list of things that have to get done to get the kids off to school and/or get yourself to the office. Your morning checklist doesn’t leave room for your fitness plan. At the end of the day you’re tired and hungry and you want to get home. Another day is over and you didn’t get your workout, or your yoga practice, or your meditation in. You tell yourself you will squeeze it in tomorrow, but the cycle repeats and Friday catches up with you before you catch up with your fitness regimen. Yes, there’s always next week, but you know where that story ends. How can you make sure that you are living up to the promises you make yourself?
1. Schedule an Appointment.
Find the time of day and the days of the week when working out will make you feel your best. I do not consider myself a morning person. Getting out of bed, especially in the cold and dark mornings of the NJ winter, is a formidable effort for me. However, my day runs much better after I’ve done a workout of some form and meditated. The knowledge that I will undoubtedly feel better for many hours after, gets me started. For people with long commutes to work morning fitness routines are not a practical option, so end of day scheduling is the best alternative. Don’t wait until a time slot opens up in your schedule and fits perfectly. That is not likely to happen. Before your week starts, choose the time of day and days of the week, that are the best available option and put your workouts into your calendar. You are setting appointments with yourself. You wouldn’t hit the snooze alarm if you had an appointment with your child’s teacher. An appointment with yourself deserves the same respect.
2. Partner Up.
Meeting a friend (or making a new one) at the studio or gym will help keep you focused on getting there, but now even more options are available for creating a support network that will help you stay on track with your long term goals. Every social network has possibilities for joining online groups where you can get ideas, share your goals and help each other stay accountable. Activewear USA recently launched a new online community called Sweatynation (www.sweatynation.com) that is specifically geared toward networking to support you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I teach live, online yoga classes to students around the world. I’ve come to realize that many online students feel as committed to each other as they do to their practice. Technology has enabled us to practice together and then email each other for updates and check-ins regardless of geographic location. These cyber workout buddies can be very motivating and as effective at keeping each other honest as the face to face version.
3. Get back on track as quickly as possible.
There will be days that you skip your practice. Sometimes these lapses are avoidable and sometimes, due to injury or illness, they are not. Spending time in the dark depths of guilt, or beating yourself up, can result in making you feel so bad about yourself that it’s difficult to get re-motivated. This is how one missed workout can turn into skipping weeks of workouts. Negative self talk tears you down and obscures the knowledge that you are worth your best effort. Conversely, when you are confident that you not only want, but deserve, to be vital and healthy it’s much easier to get back to the fitness routine that makes it happen.