How do you commit to working out when you lack the consistency and motivation — the two biggest culprits derailing efforts across the globe this month — despite the best of intentions to follow through?
In short: you can’t.
At best, your attendance will be strong for a week. After that, the only thing you can count on is your recurring monthly bill from whatever establishment you put your trust into to get your ass in shape.
Harsh? Yes. Realistic? Absolutely.
There Is A Work-Around
Not every new year's resolution is doomed to crash and burn into the ether after the close of the first month. Yes, the playing grounds will level off and gym-regulars will rejoice in having their equipment back, but there will be the few who make it through the initial fire and come out unscathed.
It’s not by pure willpower either that fueled them, or a burning desire to embrace the suck that comes with committing to show up and exert uncomfortable amounts of effort week after week.
There are tactics that can be employed to which make showing up a must. An absolute MUST which is crucial when first implementing change (or doing something so friggin uncomfortable you can easily talk yourself out of it.)
What I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes it takes a little creativity and ingenuity to make the commitment stick without wavering.
That’s not to say however that sometimes you can persevere against the odds because you actually enjoy the process. (Insert wide-eyed and shocked looking emoji here!) I actually enjoy — mostly — exercising and it’s because I know when I’ve given it my best effort, the mental satisfaction that bubbles up is akin to an hour with a therapist for me. My brain just works better and that’s all the motivation I need.
Others need more, and here’s what I can offer up to you in terms of finding that thing that will make showing up a MUST so you no longer struggle with consistency, or lack motivation. (And you no longer entertain the “will I, won’t I” conversation.)
This idea came from an unlikely source: “The 4-Hour Chef” by Tim Ferriss. I say unlikely because when I first picked up the book, I thought I would be walking away with the skills to become a Michelin star-rated chef. Instead, I walked away with so many other weird yet intriguing insights that have stuck with me ever since.
This book is reminiscent of the movie “Being John Malkovich”, except you’re walking around as if you’re in the mind of Tim Ferriss. He covers everything from learning how to cook (the obvious), to knowing how to create the perfect fire by the way you stack the wood, to learning a new language using the 80/20 principle. He breaks it all down and I find myself going back to this book for refreshers and new lessons often— none of which have anything to do with cooking!
One such lesson is learning how to improve your follow-through rate by creating stakes, which in turn creates accountability — a massive influencer in sticking with something long after your enthusiasm wanes.
These stakes can come in many forms such as a wager, like committing $500 or a percentage of your income to charity, if you fail to follow-through. To make it even more gut-wrenching, he suggests giving that money to a charity that you don’t support or goes against your values, which can intensify your drive and unwillingness to give in. Talk about motivation.
You can easily create some serious stakes, and if you’re serious about committing to working out once and for all, it’s worth considering.
It’s important to note that if you do decide to contribute to a charity if you fail to follow-through, share that little tidbit with a friend so they will keep you honest!
Invest in Yourself
By hiring a personal trainer. (This can be construed as a shameless plug but it’s not, I promise.)
If you don’t know what you’re doing, how to begin, or how to progress over time, enlisting the help of a fitness professional can be a huge tipping point in creating the commitment you seek. Especially when you’re plunking down your hard-earned money on it. No one wants to spend money on something they won’t get a return on.
It doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment either. I find that after 10 sessions with clients who are alert, paying attention and asking questions on proper form and sequencing, can do very well on their own after the end of our sessions. The key is to treat the sessions as an investment. You want to be able to walk away with the know-how and ability to strengthen your body so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Trainers love to talk about the body and how to move it properly, we geek out to this stuff!
Look into local trainers who can come to your home, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish even if you don’t have a lot of space. I’ve worked in many apartments where we were wedged between a pillar and a bookcase and it worked just fine.
These are just two ways you can go about creating consistency and motivation which will, in turn, keep you moving well past January 31! Challenge yourself to find a method that can keep you engaged and showing up, especially when the hype dies down and everyone else goes back to their old, unsatisfactory ways.
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AM Costanzo is a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and works hard to help women feel strong, powerful and downright fabulous in body and mind!