Have you ever set a fitness goal, achieved that goal, and then gone back to your previous not-as-active habits…even though you were hoping that the fitness goal would inspire an ongoing change in your exercise behavior?
Or, have you ever been in a place where you were skipping exercise more often than not because you were exercising when you felt motivated and skipping it when you didn’t have the energy or inspiration?
What about this? Have you ever been consistent with exercise for a period of weeks and given up when you haven’t seen any noticeable changes?
If so, you are not alone.
Sometimes we value other activities more than exercise, and sometimes we choose other self-care activities in place of exercise.
Sometimes we want to see progress and — even though changes are happening — we’re not able to see the progress we are making. When this happens, we might get frustrated.
Maybe we are measuring our progress using ineffective tools or, perhaps, we are just too close to ourselves to see the minuscule changes that are manifesting.
Many of us have been through similar situations and have wondered when the exercise habit would stick for us.
Becoming more self-aware can help you to be more consistent with exercise. Understanding your preferences and taking those preferences into account when making decisions can help you to design a fitness routine that works for you.
Observing your thoughts regarding exercise can help as well, especially if you practice celebrating your wins and begin to short-circuit your self-criticism.
Being kind to yourself when you don’t complete an activity as planned can provide an opportunity to try again without as much stress as you might feel when you are being critical of yourself.
Take this example: when learning a new skill, such as playing an instrument or learning a second language, you might not be great at it when you start. Even when you have some practice with that new skill, chances are good that you will still make a mistake from time to time. If you are stressed about making mistakes, you might make more mistakes than if you continue to practice with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Consider building a new habit as a learning process, where you will get better at your new habit with practice over time.
Take the pressure off of yourself to be perfect, and do your best in the moment. Accept any mistakes as part of the process.
Trust yourself to make the choices that are right for you each day and aim to improve over time.
As long as your fitness trend line is going the way you want it to go, you’re on the right track.
You can also switch gears and change directions if you choose.
If you are feeling like your fitness trend line isn’t going the way you want it to go, start with one thing that you can change and work on mastering that habit to change the trajectory of your trend line.