Every year, right after the new year begins, gym owners are loving life, and gym rats are ranting about how annoying it is that there are so many people in “their” gym. Ah, the return of the “new years’ resolutioners”. This common trend is a prime example of people deciding to make a change, following through for about a month, and then dropping off again.
However, this happens year round! Let’s assume this is you, the reader. You may have a health scare, may be newly single and realizing you aren’t as attractive physically as you’d like, or maybe you are just fed up with your unhealthy lifestyle. You decide you are going on a diet and are going to start working out! You go to the local book store or search amazon for diet books, research on the internet, join a gym, and maybe even shell out for a few sessions with personal trainer. These are great things to do, no doubt! But every time you start up a new healthy regimen, you stop after a short time and cannot figure out why. There is an underlying problem that we need to address…
It always happens this way, you start out strong, cooking recipes out of your new favorite diet book, working with the personal trainer once a week for a couple of weeks, but then it happens. LIFE hits again! New priorities rise above this new healthy lifestyle. The kids are starting up soccer practice again, summer hits and vacations are coming, a new project at work leads to long hours etc. Suddenly your meal planning changes from a healthy recipe at home, to drive through burgers on the way home. Your exercise routine dwindles from every morning at 6:30am to “I’ll work out later” which becomes “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow”, which repeats the cycle over again. Eventually, and quickly, you’re right back where you were and the only remnant of your healthy lifestyle is the auto payment for the gym that comes out of your account every month that you can’t bring yourself to stop, because that would be admitting you actually have given up on your health.
It’s a harsh reality, but for so many of us, it simply is reality. The question becomes, why can’t we stick to our plan? We start out so strong and motivated, even posting the occasional fitness meme on Facebook, but suddenly we stop. The answer is quite simple actually, in fact, I’ve already said it. It’s about priorities. When the kids have soccer practice at 4pm, we drop them off at 3:55pm just to be safe, when the boss schedules a meeting at 11am, we’re in their office at 10:55pm. This seems obvious, these are set appointment or meeting times that must be kept. When this healthy lifestyle no longer becomes a priority, the times we set are arbitrary and not concrete in our minds. This is when we say “I’ll do it later” or “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
The fact of the matter is that most diets work, and any exercise routine will most likely be good for you(assuming you have good form of course!). The reason they don’t work is that we don’t treat the time they take like a meeting with our boss. You wouldn’t brush off your work meeting, doctor’s appointment, or kids soccer practice would you? Most of us wouldn’t even brush off happy hour with friends!
Imagine this: Every day you schedule your workout time in your work schedule. Consistently, you have an hour blocked off at a specific time. If you absolutely must do something else on a given day at that time, you “re-schedule” your work out for a different time that day. For meals, you meal plan on Sunday, maybe even make a few meals that day that you can heat up throughout the week. If we begin to treat our health like we treat important meetings, the changes will happen naturally! It’s about priorities, discipline, and scheduling.
These are simple solutions to an honestly simple problem.
In Part II we will discuss another major problem we face in regards to starting a new exercise routine!