Struggling to maintain workout consistency is actually one of the top issues I hear busy women state when they first walk through our door. Life can get busy, curve balls are common, we wear multiple hats, the juggle is rrreeeaaaal!
The good news is being more consistent is one of the most raved about outcomes of women in our community – so we do know a thing or two about it.
In THIS article I explored the concept of CONSISTENCY and provided a few ‘important reminders’ regarding it. Today I’m going to share 8 strategies I recommend you implement in order to be more consistent with your exercise habits.
Clarify your vision
Our VISION or WHY impacts our relationship with self and health and shapes our actions (For example: If you’re punishing yourself through exercise or hating yourself and your body, this will impact your relationship with self and health, which will impact your actions, which will impact your outcomes, which will impact your life). In my experience, women who have greater clarity on their VISION/WHY, more confidently and consistently take steps to reinforce their desired vision.
Set clear intentions
Goals are the ‘result’ focused (ie. ‘what’ you want to achieve). Intentions are behaviour/action focused (ie. ‘how’ you will achieve your goals or vision). Goals are good for setting a direction, intentions are good for making progress. The problem with ‘goal first’ mentality is (1) you’re continually putting happiness off until you’ve achieved the desired result (2) either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and are disappointed (3) it can create a ‘yo yo’ effect (or on/off). Thats why we focus on INTENTIONS instead.
Many people think they lack motivation or will power to exercise consistently, when what they often lack is CLARITY. It’s not always obvious when and where to take action and some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement. Once INTENTIONS have been set you don’t have to wait for motivation to strike or timing to be perfect. There is no need to make a decision. You’ve already made it and you follow your predetermined ‘plan’. Essentially, people who set CLEAR INTENTIONS for when/where they will exercise, are more likely to follow through. They don’t leave it to chance or hope that they’ll remember or ‘just do it’.
BONUS INTENTION TIP: Schedule your workouts into your diary! We have an app that allows you to pre-book your workouts, and encourage you to add workouts, active adventures or park walks into your diary/calendar.
Do exercise/movement you enjoy
Theres two parts to this but the crux of the argument is: If you enjoy the activity/movement, you’ll be WAY more likely to exercise consistently.
- YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EXERCISE MATTERS: If you view exercise as a means to increase your energy, build your strength, boost your brain power and create your happier healthier more adventurous life – you’re more likely to have a POSITIVE relationship with, and find JOY in, exercise and exercising consistently. If you view exercise as a means to ‘burn calories’ or ‘blast body fat’ or ‘punish yourself and your body’ – you’re more likely to have a NEGATIVE relationship with, and struggle to find JOY, in exercise or exercising consistently.
- SAY YES TO THINGS YOU ENJOY: Women come to SAY YES because they ENJOY things like: the feeling of lifting weights, the feeling of challenging themselves with cardio, watching the sunrise whilst they workout, catching up with the girls at workouts, fresh air on their face whilst they exercise, and/or feeling more positive in body and mind after our workouts. Perhaps you like bushwalking, rock climbing, cycling, swimming, netball, yoga, hoola hooping, dancing – great, do these! Doing exercise you enjoy doesn’t have to mean you do them every week, but finding ways to do them (or do them more often) can definitely help you be more consistent with your exercise habits.
NB: Not ALL exercise or workouts will be ‘fun’ or ‘spark joy’ in your life. Yes, doing things you enjoy will make it more likely you’ll enjoy what you’re doing and feel good afterwards (makes sense right?!) – but sometimes, things don’t feel fun. Sometimes things feel like a drag. Sometimes routine gets monotonous (hello ground hog day and #mumlife). If this is a common feeling for you, SAY YES TO SUPPORT! It’s worth diving a little deeper into this because there are ways and means to RE-SPARK the joy!
Embrace a “real, not perfect” mantra
The happy, healthy and adventurous life we are all about helping you create – is real, not perfect.
Consistency is NOT never missing a workout, never hitting snooze on your alarm, always feeling motivated, always setting and smashing big goals, never complaining, never failing, never forgetting. Consistency is about doing whatever you can, whenever you can, with whatever you’ve got. Sometimes consistency will feel like 80/20, and sometimes it’ll feel like much less. Sometimes consistency will feel great, sometimes it will feel boring. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re winning, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re failing. Being consistent means being real.
Embracing consistency means knowing you don’t need to be perfect to be worthy, or enough… because you are worthy and enough, just as you are.
Have back up plans
The ‘all or nothing’ mentality really hurts workout consistency. Let’s say you’ve got parent-teacher interview on the night you usually go to exercise class – does that mean all exercise should be off the cards until next week? No, of course not. But it DOES mean you’ll have to come up with another way to move your body. Perhaps you’ll attend a different exercise class that week, or do a quick 10min at home workout that morning, or walk laps of the oval whilst the kids are at soccer practice tomorrow. It’s seriously handy to have a few super simple backup plans up your sleeve.
BONUS TIP: In all honesty, implementing a back up plan will be easier some weeks than others – and thats ok. Because just remember – IT’S SERIOUSLY OK TO MISS A WORKOUT (or 2).
Celebrate small wins
There is a lot of noise in the fitness world around needing to smash GOALS or achieve PBs. And sure, celebrating these things are great – but celebrating the small wins are just as (if not more) powerful and important! Not everyone has performance goals. Not everyone regularly smashes PBs. Does that mean we have nothing to celebrate?! Of course not! Celebrating the small wins can trigger feelings of pride, happiness and help you find the JOY in YOUR JOURNEY. Without celebrating our small wins, we are not acknowledging the simple choices and repeated actions we are making/doing for ourselves and our health. It’s these simple choices, repeated consistently over the long term, that can seriously benefit our health and wellbeing!
Prime your environment
Whenever you organize a space for its intended purpose, you are priming it to make the next action easy. This is one of the most practical and simple ways to improve your habits. Priming your environment for exercise could mean: setting a re-occurring weekly alarm on your phone; setting your workout clothes the night before; placing your water bottle next to your car keys; pre-making your breakfast so you can eat as soon as you get home. Priming your environment can seriously help towards the end of the week (when energy may have dropped a little) or on those colder darker mornings (when you’ve lost that ‘spring up and outta bed’ kind of feeling).
Use temptation bundling
Temptation bundling means combining something that needs to be done with something you want to do. Examples include listening to your favourite podcast or music when you walk/run (or on your way to the gym), or watching your fav TV show whilst you’re on your elliptical at home. If at home workouts or weekly walks/runs are something you are trying to do more consistently, temptation bundling can certainly help.
But wait, theres more…
This article is taking much longer than anticipated to complete (the #mumjuggle is real) so sincerely excuse me while I take a REAL NOT PERFECT approach and leave it at this for now. There will be future conversations, posts, resources and individual support that explore even MORE ways you can maintain workout consistency. Ways such as:
- Ensure your basic needs are being met
- Embrace ‘action’ not ‘motivation’
- Ditch diet culture and comparisonitis
- Talk kindly to yourself
- Share your intentions with your loved ones
- Join a likeminded community
- Say yes to rest
- Say yes to support
- Say yes to adventure