The reason you are not already a regular exerciser (hint: it’s NOT "trying harder").
You have tried to become a regular exerciser, yet it does not really work for you.
Maybe you have started exercising in the past but stopped after a while.
Maybe you are currently exercising, but you are yo-yoing – you know, exercise for two months, then take a break for a week, then exercise for another 3 months, and then take a 1-month break, etc.
The problem with yo-yoing (or ultimately quitting exercise) is that you lose your exercise momentum, as well as the results you have achieved. So you both lose the results you have achieved AND it feels harder to go back to exercising because you have lost your momentum. That sucks.
At this point, most people think they should “try harder”. I think they should “try smarter”.
How triggers can make (or break) your exercise success
Most people depend on willpower to make their exercise plan work. However, willpower is limited. It’s meant to run out after a while.
What happens when your willpower runs out? Do you quit? Do you take a break?
Or, do you have a system that carries you over?
Let me explain.
The reason you sometimes skip workouts, or the reason that you stopped exercising, may NOT be that you:
didn’t have enough time,
didn’t have enough motivation,
It may be as simple as not having established the right triggers…Just that. No time, motivation, or laziness trash. Just lack of triggers.
But what are triggers?
Triggers are calls to action. They can be -pretty much- anything.
- Your workout buddy who calls you to remind you of your exercise time.
- Your athletic shoes by the door that remind you to go for a jog.
- Your old jeans that don’t fit anymore – that make you want to get healthier and fitter.
- The old pictures when you were fitter – that make you want to get back in shape.
- A conversation with a friend about their recent transformation – now you want to replicate their results!
Triggers give you the impulse to do something. That’s why they are call to actions.
And this is why they should be taken advantage of 🙂
How to set up triggers to call yourself to exercise
1. Remove Triggers that call you to other activities
Suppose you love reading the newspaper. You now decide that you will replace some of your newspaper reading time with exercise.
You go back home from work, you put on your athletic clothes, and go to the living room, ready to put on the exercise DVD to play.
You are about to look for the exercise DVD when you spot the newspaper.
Right there, on your coffee-table.
Boom, you now have the urge to go read that newspaper!
You have to fight it to resist!
Of course you have to fight – because newspaper reading is already a habit. A habit you want to change in favor of exercise.
You are now in danger of forgetting about your exercise plans and just reading the newspaper. This “economy collapse” headline is really calling you!
– “You will exercise now. You won’t postpone it again…”
– “But I am so tired…I could just sit on the couch. I deserve some relax time after such a hard day at work…”
You are already trying to talk yourself out of exercising! You wouldn’t need to get in this internal fight if you had been proactive:
Had you removed the newspaper from the coffee-table (which is a prominent space in your house) and put it in a place where it’s hard to spot, or had you not bought the newspaper in the first place, you wouldn’t need to fight with yourself right now. And you wouldn’t need to risk your exercise success.
You see, you already have well-established habits. In order to add more exercise in your life (which is a new habit) you need to alter some of your existing ones.
Had you removed the newspaper from the coffee-table in advance, you wouldn’t need to try as hard to exercise.
To make this process easier for you you need to FIND & REMOVE the triggers of the habits you want to change.
2. Add triggers that call you to exercise
Now that you have removed your old triggers, why not insert some new ones that actually make you exercise?
Here is my favorite:
Take your athletic shoes (or your jumping rope, or your yoga mat, or a dumbbell, etc) and place it in a prominent place inside your house.
E.g., you could put your shoes right in the middle of the living room. Or, just in front of the front door (so that you cannot get in or out without stumbling on them). Or, you could put your yoga mat on the sofa or on the coffee-table. You get the point.
This is a visual reminder to do your exercise.
- If you exercise you will put your shoes on and do your workout. Success!
- If you don’t exercise then you will need to take your athletic shoes away and store them back in the shoe rack.
I swear you won’t like moving your shoes away. Because moving your shoes away will be like “admitting failure”.
At the same time, with the shoes being in such a prominent place you do have pressure to make a decision. If you don’t, they will keep staring at you! And you will keep stumbling on them.
I hope you choose exercise 🙂
Exercise success is about trying smarter…not harder
You can make exercise MUCH EASIER:
- Remove triggers that call you to your “old habits”, and
- Add triggers that call you to do exercise!
Do these two steps and notice that you won’t have to fight with yourself, or drag yourself to exercise as much as you did before. There will be nothing distracting you from what you set-out to do: exercise!
Sometimes working harder…is simply NOT the answer to your problems 😉
Any other triggers ideas that help you exercise? Please let me know about them here.