Being consistent with your workouts can be challenging. It’s so easy to come up with reasons to skip. A kid wakes up sick and you miss your scheduled workout. Your boss wants you to travel unexpectedly. Your life is constantly chaotic, and it seems easier to just skip your workouts. There are countless things that can get in the way if you let them. While sometimes it is completely valid to skip a workout, most of the time we talk ourselves out of our workout. Creating a consistent workout routine will not only help you feel better mentally and physically, it will also help you handle the stressors that life may throw your way.
Check out these tips to create a more consistent workout schedule.
- Schedule your workouts at the same time each week. This is one of the best things you can do! It certainly helped me. When picking your workout time think about the flexibility of your work and your work schedule. Do last minute meetings always pop up on your work schedule? If so, don’t schedule your workout during the workday. Do you feel drained after work, want to be with your kids right when you get off, or know things often pop up after work? Pick a morning or midday time. Does your body ache in the morning and feel better after a few hours of being awake? Choose an after work or midday time. Are you on drop off duty for your kid’s school? Choose a time before or after. Sticking to the same workout schedule create some much more mental freedom. “When will I work out,” will not be a question looming over your head and weighing you down. It has already been decided. You just have to show up.
- Set yourself up for success the night before. This includes going to bed with enough time to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Have a dinner that will help support your workout the next day and skip the alcohol, which can really disrupt your sleep quality. If you need to get up early to workout, have your workout clothes already out/your gym bag packed, know what you are doing, and have your pre-workout fuel as close to ready as possible. Don’t wait until the morning of to decide if you are going to the gym to strength train or go for a run.
- Don’t rely on motivation. Motivation does not last, and it often takes action to become motivated. If you wait to start until you are really motivated, you may never start. Know that it’s okay to not want to work out and still show up. If you only did things when you felt like doing them, you would really miss out on what you can achieve. I don’t really enjoy cleaning my floors, but I do it. And, I always feel great enjoying the clean space after. What is something you don’t enjoy doing, but do anyway and feel good after it’s done? What makes you show up and do it? How can you apply this to your workouts? You can help build motivation by paying attention to how you feel after your workouts. Remind yourself how great you feel after a workout when you are tempted to skip. You never regret a workout once it’s done!
- Hire a coach, get a workout buddy, or better yet do both! You can do it alone, but there is something powerful about including another person in your goal. If you have an appointment with a coach or are meeting a friend at the gym, it is a lot harder to skip.
- Keep track of your workouts. This can be really motivating for certain personality types. It also helps to hold yourself accountable. It requires you to pay attention to whether or not you are getting your workouts in. For those of you that like to check things off a list, it’s an add bonus or celebration to give yourself credit for your completed workout. It’s also awesome to see the workouts add up. How many are you getting in a week, a month, or even a year?
- Be flexible. While it is great to have a set schedule each week, know that from time to time your schedule may get thrown off. Your kid wakes up sick or you have to travel unexpectedly for work. Don’t get down on yourself for not being able to follow your exact plan. Do what you can. Maybe that means changing up your workout for the day or swapping your rest day. A suboptimal workout is better than no workout. Even if you do end up missing one day, don’t fret. One day in the scheme of a year is no big deal. As James Clear of Atomic Habits says, “Just don’t miss twice.”
- Use missed workouts as learning experiences. Life happens and you may just flat out miss a workout. If it’s just one give yourself grace and move one. It can be easy to get down on yourself and even belittle yourself, which isn’t helpful. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity especially if you are noticing a pattern of missed workouts. The system you had in place failed. The good news is systems can be fixed! How can you refine your system? If you are constantly struggling to make a workout happen, switch your workout time? If you are snoozing through your workouts, go to bed earlier.
Starting is the most difficult part but, after a week or two, it will get easier! You got this!