Dear Cassey –
I have tried a large variety of workout challenges, but I just never seem to complete one. The farthest I have ever gotten is the 5th or the 6th day. Then I just can’t find it in me to continue. It’s been getting really frustrating and I can’t help but get angry over it.
Also, I don’t have a routine for individual workouts. I know that if I want to reach my goals, I must follow a schedule. But I just can’t and now I don’t understand what’s wrong with me. How can I be more consistent?
A routine – less person.
Let me just start by saying I hear you. Why is it soo hard to stick to something we know is good for ourselves?! Let’s talk about it. Hopefully, everything I’ve learned over the years can help you out.
First, fitness challenges are HARD.
That’s why they’re called challenges! If they were easy to stick to and finish, everyone would do it. So even though I totally get why you’re frustrated with yourself, I promise the negative self-talk is NOT the way to change your habits. Instead, embrace the fact that it’s hard. Prepare yourself going into every challenge that there will be a point (or several) when you just don’t want to go on. Quitting will be tempting.
If you’re starting challenges and then finding that the workouts are too hard, that’s okay. We all start somewhere, right?! So modify it to fit your needs. So maybe you choose a challenge that doesn’t require you to jump into daily workouts. Or maybe you just tweak the challenge and do the workouts every other day or 2-3 times per week! Maybe you simply modify the moves within the workout to your comfort level and work your way up.
But keeping promises to yourself is important.
SOOOOO important. If you don’t keep promises to yourself, who will?!
Start with your “why”
What’s your goal when starting challenges in the first place? Really put some thought into that. If you don’t understand what you want to get out of the challenge, it’s going to be a lot easier to bail. Maybe you want to improve your mental health, or you want to see more muscle tone in your legs. Maybe you just want to make movement a staple in your daily life. Whatever your “why” may be, it’s valid and important. It will keep you going.
Understand what motivates you
It’s possible that you can’t stick with a challenge for more than a few days because there’s just no reward – YET. Once the initial excitement over a challenge goes away, you need something to keep fueling the fire. We all respond to different motivators differently, and it’s time to figure out what you respond to!
I’m a list person. So having that “workout complete” checkbox in the BODY By Blogilates app is a huuuuuuuge motivator for me. I LOVE checking that box just like I love crossing off my to-do list every day.
Maybe accountability is your thing. You could find a friend to do challenges with or even join a fitness-based group on Facebook. There’s also an amaaaazing POP community on Instagram. If you post your workout or sweaty selfie and tag #blogilates or whatever the challenge is, the POPsters will show up and cheer you on every time.
Progress is another huuuuuuge motivator. You know your big picture, end goal when you begin a challenge, but you need to break it up into smaller steps to keep you interested along the way. So, something like exercising at least 15 minutes per day. Even if you don’t want to do the planned workout, commit to going on a walk or doing yoga. Anything that gets you moving for 15 minutes! Who knows, maybe you’ll decide the scheduled workout sounds good afterall.
Other small progress goals include attempting a few reps at a heavier weight or in an advanced move. Or trying a new veggie or recipe you’ve had your eye on. Drinking more water. Replacing negative self-talk with something positive. Meditating each morning. Think small! Every achievement fuels the fire.
Make it a priority.
Listen up – You are a priority. Your goals are important. Your commitments to you are NOT less important than any other commitment you make. You can’t give your best to anyone or anything else if you’re not giving yourself your best.
Next time you decide on a challenge, or go to start a routine, put it on your calendar. It might sound silly to schedule your workout, grocery shopping, meal prep, meals, etc. at specific times, but it’s time to treat your health commitments like you would an appointment with your doctor or a meeting. Don’t miss that appointment.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can change your habits. Yes, having a calendar of workouts to follow is helpful (and why I make them for you!), but no one will hold your hand and make you do the work. But I know you can do it. And you need to believe that you can do it too.
From this moment, no more saying “I can’t,” OKAY?! You absolutely, without a doubt CAN. You just gotta find your groove! And hopefully, some of these tips help you find it.
PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!