Exercise motivation is the biggest hurdle for many people. If you take regular exercise then all well and good. If you don’t then now is the time to start. I’m assuming that for some of you, this will not be a problem if you are serious about doing everything you can to overcome your anxiety disorder. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself then the following outline will help you.
The key to developing a regular fitness regime is to make it easy and fun. Don’t attempt too much at once and remember that everything can be broken down into smaller, simpler steps.
Exercise Motivation Stage 1 – Make the mental commitment
Write it down if it helps. If you have to then write a contract, frame it, put it on your wall and swear that you will abide by it. Making a obvious public statement in this way can be very powerful and compelling.
Exercise Motivation Stage 2 – Gradual Introduction
Make a daily plan. The following example is to start running on a regular basis, but this can be applied to any sport.
Start easier than you can manage. You might spend more time getting into your sports clothes than doing any sport. This is not important. What is important is that we are building a habit. This will take a few weeks.
- Day 1 – Walk 500 yards.
- Day 2 – Walk 600 yards
- Day 3 – Walk 700 yards
- … Keep adding 100 yards
- Day 14 – Two weeks later and you are up to a mile
- Day 15 – Walk the mile but jog the last 100 yards (or 50 yards, its up to you)
- Day 16 – Walk the mile but jog the last 200 yards
- Day 17 – Walk the mile but jog the last 300 yards
- … Keep jogging an extra 100 yards
- Day 32 – You’ve run the while mile.
… Keep going – add extra distance, sprint the last 100 yards and increase that.
Exercise Motivation Stage 3 – Keep It Regular – No Days Off
The other important detail is that you should start at the same time each day and do it every day. No days off. This establishes the habit. You might well flunk off the odd day so we are definitely going to build in that sort of behavior.
Combining first steps in exercise with some other regular activity such as walking (running) the dog, going to the store, or listening to a radio show on a walkman is very effective. This piggy backing of one habit on another is a great way to develop any fitness program or training schedule.
It Should Never Hurt!
The idea of no pain no gain is terrific if you want to become an athlete, but not if you are setting out to begin a new fitness regime and develop better health. Never. If you are not in the zone for pushing yourself past your limits, then pain will just put an end to your fitness plans.