How to overcome laziness when starting a workout routine

Starting trouble is by far one of the biggest obstacles for anyone setting off on the fitness path. Whether you’ve been struggling to make a beginning, or have started exercising but find yourself looking for a fresh excuse to keep you from fixing that daily fitness habit, or you simply cannot motivate yourself, you are not alone. The struggle to overcome the laziness brought on by our increasingly sedentary lives is very real.

The good news is, it’s usually the very beginning that tests you the most. Once you have made it past the one week mark, chances are it will get easier, more enjoyable and the visible benefits of exercise will soon turn into the motivator to keep you going for more. So it’s important to work on breaking through the mental barriers that make you lazy, diffident and convince you not to work out, during the very first week or ten days after you begin a new fitness routine or activity.

1) Every challenge must begin with a realistic, achievable goal and exercise is no different. There is absolutely no joy in setting an insurmountable goal right at the start, because it will be doomed to fail. So here are a few easy pointers:

  • Know your body, accept your strengths and start small and easy.
  • You can always build as you go, as your workouts get better and easier.
  • Try and stick with something tangible and measurable on a daily basis. Choose to measure time instead of weight or inches, as it is easier to track.

Whether you want to choose a weekly challenge (I will work out for 30 minutes, 5 days this week) or a monthly challenge (I will run 5km, 6 days a week, all through this month) make it realistic and so you will have little reason to stop you from achieving it.

2) Once you have a goal in mind, make sure you measure it every day. Depending on the activity you have chosen, use a calendar, a running app or a wearable device to measure it. Physically striking off the days on a calendar, checking how far you ran today or clocking the number of calories burnt will go a long way in contributing to your sense of achievement and satisfaction. As the kilometers add up, and the calories are knocked down, you will feel stronger and more confident to stick with your plan.

3) The most important thing to do when setting a fitness habit is to dedicate a specific time for exercise. Carve out a niche in the day that suits you best, ensure that you fix it and respect it as a window of time for yourself. Tell yourself it is important for your health, wellbeing and happiness. And then, commit yourself to it! Fixing a time helps set the activity into your daily schedule, rather than scrambling to find time to exercise every day. As far as possible try not to push it to the very end of the day when energy is flagging and you are mentally don’t for the day, because it will only make you skip the routine, more often than not.

Feeling-tired

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4) Choose an activity that you enjoy because it is important not to turn fitness into a boring chore. If you like exercise to be a solitary activity, hitting the gym, going running or walking may work well for you. But for many of us, group activities are motivators. If you find yourself more enthusiastic to exercise in a gang, experiment with forms like dancercise, Zumba, martial arts or a sport. Choose the one that makes you most happy to indulge in, do not think of it as exercise and treat the time spent like an enjoyable part of your routine.

5) Build momentum with time and find new ways to challenge yourself. As time goes by, you will find that any activity you choose will get easier and more enjoyable. It’s easy to slip into a comfort zone at this stage. So watch for cues. When you find that your workout is all too easy, you’re no longer breaking a sweat or you’re beginning to drag your feet every day, give yourself a new challenge. Increase the distance you run, time yourself and try and do it faster, add a weights routine, experiment with a higher level of a course you may have picked. Find a small milestone to achieve and make it your new goal. Set yourself a new challenge and build up to it gradually.

6) Most important of all, reward yourself! Remember to always be kind on yourself. Thank your body for cooperating with your new challenge, pat yourself on the back for every day that you successfully beat down the inertia monster and clock your workout. Reward yourself in small ways that will not harm you. A massage at the end of the week, a coffee date with friends or loved ones, a new pair of trainers when you hit a target, find something you would like to keep as a reward, and ensure that you give it to yourself when you meet your target.

Once you get past the first two weeks you will that inertia begins to fade away. The daily endorphin rush can be addictive and the boost of energy keeps you upbeat and happy right through the day. With time, once you have made fitness a daily habit in your routine, you will find it hard to give it up. Good luck!

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