How to never skip a work out again

Not being able to stick to a workout routine is an extremely common fear.

And for good reason. For many people, finding the energy, motivation and will to regularly exercise is a constant struggle. Only 20% of Canadian adults get enough physical activity each week.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you’re just starting out, it can seem like being active every day will always be a battle, but committing to an active lifestyle shouldn’t drain you of energy and motivation. With the right approach and a good mindset, being more active can actually make your more energetic, more productive, and more motivated to tackle every challenge life throws your way.

Here are some ways to transform the way you look at your workout:

1. Start slower than you think.

A big reason people start exercising and then stop is that they start too quickly. They go to the gym and lift all the weights. They jog for miles their very first run.

And then the next day, they wake up in agony and are unable to workout again for a week.

Avoid killing your momentum by starting slow. Slower than you think. If you wake up the next morning and don’t feel like you exercised at all, you can always go again! (That’s kind of the idea after all.)

2. Recognize that most excuses miss the mark.

Too tired to workout? Studies show that physical activity boosts energy levels.

Too busy? Studies show that physical activity will help you focus and be more productive.

Too stressed? A workout is one of nature’s best stress-relievers.

It’s understandable that on any given day, things come up. Days get too jam-packed with things that need to get done. You come home on a Friday night after a long week and feel too exhausted to move. These things happen.

But more often than not, a workout is the solution, not the problem.

3. Don’t beat yourself up about missing a workout.

When you’re truly committed to leading an active lifestyle, missing a workout isn’t a huge deal. If you have a big event or a pressing deadline at work, skipping a workout doesn’t matter because you know that you’ll be back at it again the next time.

Unfortunately, many people get down on themselves when they miss a workout. They tell themselves that they’ve failed and can’t do it. They convince themselves that getting into a routine is impossible.

It’s best to avoid such negativity altogether. Instead, focus on getting back at it as soon as possible. Don’t dwell on the missed workout. Look forward to the next opportunity to get active.

4. Realize that it’s a necessity.

People don’t get so busy that they forget to eat for a week. No one gets too tired to breathe. Eating and breathing are essential to life.

Getting physically active is no different. Just as we need to eat and breathe to lead happy and healthy lives, we also need to move. When you stop looking at your workout as optional and start treating it like a necessity, you’ll no longer even think about skipping it.

5. Always keep starting.

This change has made a huge difference in my own life. I started and stopped exercising half a dozen times before finally it dawned on me – keep starting!

I realized that it didn’t matter if I started on Monday and quit on Tuesday, as long as I started again the next week. Once I knew that I could always just start again, I knew that getting into a successful routine was inevitable. Failure became impossible and that’s a really good place to be.

Instead of putting all this pressure on myself to stick to a rigid routine and make a big change all at once, I instead focused on starting small and as often as possible. Over time I made my starts closer and closer together until eventually I wasn’t really started and stopping at all. I was in a routine!

Putting pressure on yourself to make a big, permanent change is a recipe for failure. Instead, focus on making incremental progress and realize that starting gets easier and easier if you just keep trying.

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Some bonus tips:

There are a lot of things you can do to make going to the gym more likely. These include:

  • Being prepared by setting out your gym bag, clothes and shoes before going to sleep
  • Setting small, achievable, time-sensitive goals
  • Getting a gym buddy to help keep you accountable
  • Mixing up your routine by adding in new exercises and activities so you don’t get bored
  • Get a streak going that you don’t want to break to keep building momentum

Combine these five specific tips with the big ideas mentioned above and you may just never skip a workout again.