“I’ll start on the first of next month.” “I’ll start after New Year’s.” Do these statements sound familiar? The hardest part of working out and living a healthy lifestyle is getting started. We all have comfort zones, and to leave those comfort zones can be intimidating. Setting a date to get started is easy, but pushing that date back is even easier. So how do you address the age old question of “how do I start?” If you can set a date and stick with it, then by all means, mark it on your calendar. If you are the type of person that will push it back, then setting a date may not be the best option. In this case, the best time to get started, is the present. The process can seem overwhelming, but there are steps that can be taken to help make it less stressful.
The most important factor in getting started is that you have decided that you are ready to make the change. Don’t start something because you feel pressured by a person or situation, do it because you have decided that this is the best thing for you. Secondly, don’t let nerves stop you. It’s normal to be nervous, but try turning that nervous energy into excitement. You should be looking forward to starting your fitness journey. Next step, prepare. Go buy new workout clothes and do your research. Research nearby gyms and decide which route is best for you. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, consider a visit to your primary care physician for a physical. This is a precautionary measure to ensure your health is in check and that no medical issues have appeared.
The second hardest part of starting a workout routine is maintaining the lifestyle change. So, how do you stick with it? Though, this will change per the individual, there are a few pointers that can help. First, try setting small, achievable goals. It’s definitely encouraged to set a big, main goal, but try setting smaller goals that can be met on your journey to the main goal. This is a great way to stay engaged, and it allows you to hit checkpoints along the way. Another tip, find a way to hold yourself accountable. This can be a job you give yourself, or you could venture out. If you have a friend who is also starting a workout regimen, you can hold each other accountable. The other option would be to invest in a personal trainer. Personal trainers are great for holding you accountable and they can make great coaches as well. Personal trainers decrease the risk of injury and will have an individualized program for you based on your specific goals. Once you’ve figured out how to hold yourself accountable, the next step is not letting yourself get discouraged on your journey. You will have setbacks and you will have days when you just “aren’t feeling it.” That’s normal, but don’t let setbacks and bad days discourage you from going forward. If you need a break or a day off, take it, but don’t let it stop your progress completely.
Bottom line, start when you’re ready, prepare, and stick with it. Once you incorporate your workout regimen into your routine, it will begin to feel natural. Approach it in a way of something you get to do as opposed to something you have to do. Don’t get discouraged and never forget why you started.