Here is an email from a 40 year old woman who has children, works, and is trying to fit fitness into her life this year.
"Hey Stew - thanks for the FREE beginner guide to fitness. It is my goal to get into better shape this year for health reasons and more energy. Even though the workout is easy and I can see it is effective, I cannot get motivated to spend 15-20 minutes exercising." What gives? How do I get more consistent with this routine?"
I understand. I wish I had a magic solution for you and millions of others. Basically, keep doing something each day even if it is just stretching for 5-10 minutes or walking a few minutes after meals. There are many opinions on how long it physiologically takes to build a habit. For daily lifestyle changes, it may only take 3-4 weeks. For athletic movements like throwing a baseball, it may take 10,000 repetitions to get good at it. So, if you can just add in something to your world for 10 minutes a day for 3-4 weeks, you will build a habit. Then that will be able to grow to 20-30 minutes a day of NEW activity to get healthy. You have to do this IF you want to feel better, look better, and be an example to others.
About Your Resolution
By week three of the New Year, the word "resolution" has left our vocabulary. Either by now you have made your resolution a daily habit and will be one of the less than 50% who actually accomplish their goal or, statistically speaking, have resorted back to your old ways. Do not feel bad, this happens every year to millions of us. Typically, 40-45% of Americans make resolutions. In fact, you are TEN times more likely to achieve a goal by making a resolution at the New Year than not - so that is the good news for those of you who started a resolution. It is NOT a waste of time. However, it is time to make it an obtainable goal!
Here are some of the issues that obstruct the majority from never reaching their goals:
1 - Bit off too much, too soon - Many combine many goals into the "fitness resolution". For instance, quitting smoking, watching your diet, reducing alcohol consumption, and adding exercise into your world all in the same week, is going to set you up for failure quickly. It is difficult to do any one of those at once so you have to pick one. I have always recommended just adding fitness and water to your diet the first month of your goal. Soon, your body will start to crave better foods or you will be less hungry thanks to increased water intake. After a few months, when you are starting to feel good exercising you will be better able to drop the other habits as they will negatively affect your performance and results.
2 - Don't have time to exercise any more - It is true once the New Year is here and we all get back to the crazy schedules of the post Holiday period, things get busy. The good news is that introducing fitness can be as simple as walking 10-15 minutes after a meal or two or waking up 15-20 minutes earlier in your day to do some stretching / calisthenics / cardio options as in the beginner plan earlier mentioned. Place exercise INTO your schedule, because if it is NOT scheduled it does NOT exist.
Place this on your refrigerator:
*If it takes 21 days to build a habit - check each day off one at a time with a minimum of 10 min / day!
3 - Do exercises while watching TV - On average Americans watch 3-5 hours of TV per day. That is a lot of time doing nothing! At first, just work-out by doing abs or stretching during commercials, then, build up to doing squats and pushups during commercials. Soon you will be bringing the stationary bike and treadmill into the room while you watch American Idol!
4 - Find something FUN! - Something has to excite you in order to achieving your goal. It could be the results of looking good and felling better than you have in decades. It could be you like the fresh air of walking in the mornings or dancing at night. It could be playing some basketball in the evenings with kids at the court or swimming at the YMCA. Whatever it is make fitness a journey and find something you enjoy about it.
The end of January and beginning of February is the time to get back on your fitness goals you thought about during the Holidays and start making progress by doing a little more of something than you used to do. Stay strong America! Let's get healthy and more fit!
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.