Getting Back On The Wagon

It has happened to all of us – and often before we even realize it.  One week you miss your workouts due to a busy schedule, and the next week you skip because you don’t feel well or over-indulged.  Before you know it, a month has passed by and your laces haven’t seen any action. Not to mention these summer months where you easily fall into the lazy days of summer and a routine or schedule is literally out the window. Once you stop fitting exercise into your life, it may seem hard to find time for it again. You may not remember how you ever found time for it in the first place.  But don’t throw in the towel!  You can start again and find a way to stick with it.

Following are a 7 steps to get you going on this date of 7/7/17.

1)  Stop beating yourself up for not exercising – Just start!  Forget about the lost days and months – you can’t get them back, but you can change the days to come.  And you are not as far gone as you think.  All that earlier work created a foundation that is waiting to be drawn out.  Muscles do have memory.

2)  Define and write down your WHY.  There will be days when you are tired and not in the mood, so it helps to have something powerful to remind you why you started in the first place.  It should be something motivating that stirs an emotional reaction, and probably needs to be more powerful than just fitting into those skinny jeans (although that can be part of the reason!).  Think of your life long wellness and how exercise can lead to a healthy and longer life.

3)  Write down your goals.  Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are much more likely to obtain them.  Just ensure that they are realistic and achievable. When you first set a goal, you’re full of energy and completely motivated, but over time those feelings can wane and your over-zealousness can push you to do too much too soon. The fix is to define a progressive set of goals that build on one another to help propel you toward that big goal. Breaking a big goal into smaller, realistic goals can help you both mentally and physically. For example, start with weekly goals such as a certain number of visits to the gym or minutes of exercise a day, rather than a six month goal of losing 40 pounds.

4)  Try something new.  This is especially helpful if boredom was one of the reasons that you fell off the wagon in the first place.  Today’s fitness options are varied and almost limitless. In most areas, you can choose among boot camps, CrossFit, Zumba, kick boxing, Bar Method, spinning, yoga and running groups, and the list goes on…  If you want to start out at home, there is an excellent supply of home DVD videos or online cable classes.  Or download an online APP – like Nike Trainer. If you really need to be accountable to someone, consider hiring a personal trainer.

5)  Join a challenge!  These are not hard to find.  Look for local 5K runs or short distance triathlons.  You can check out your gym for contests and even workplaces are getting into the game as they see the benefits of healthy employees.  These will require determination and hard work, but you will be surprised how much fun you have and how many people you meet.

6) Schedule Your Workouts. Following a weekly routine, no matter what, will help you stay committed. Make it a must – rather than a maybe. Pick 3-4 days a week with set times that you know you can make happen. For example Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun at 7 am.  Think of it as a meeting with your boss – that you cannot skip. Except in this case, you are the boss.

7)  Look beyond the scale.  If weight loss is your main goal, don’t rely entirely on the numbers of the scale. It is common for exercisers to lose fat and gain muscle without a change in body weight, so it is important to look beyond the scale. Notice how your clothes fit and how your body feels stronger.  You should also feel your increased energy level and overall better mood, as exercise has been proven to boost both of these.

The Summer is the perfect time to be more active – with so many outdoor activities to choose from water sports to biking to swimming, it’s easy to get a sweat-fest on.

Working out and feeling good about yourself will also encourage healthier eating – your results will be faster and you will round out all of your hard efforts.

Falling off the wagon happens to everyone.  Rather than looking at the past – look forward to what you want to accomplish. The first step is the hardest and requires motivation, but soon it will become habit and that will keep you going.

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