To procrastinate is human, and to forgive yourself for it is divine. But putting off fitness too often can become an unhealthy habit—one that can quickly chip away at your hard-earned fitness gains. It can also take a toll on your long-term health and well-being.
Sometimes, there are good reasons for skipping a workout, such as feeling ill or dealing with an emergency. Take care of your needs on such days. But when you suspect that you’re just avoiding action because it feels easier in the moment, change into your workout clothes. Then, blow past procrastination with these tactics:
Set a timer for 5 minutes. The moment the countdown begins, get yourself in motion, even if slowly at first. Then, at the 5-minute mark, you can quit if you really feel you need to. But you probably won’t. Once you’re up and moving, you may find it much easier to keep going. Boost the blood flow, and the energy follows.
Bundle it with some temptation.
Researchers call this trick temptation bundling, and it’s a potent tool that’s simple to learn. Combine your workout with something you really enjoy and can do while working out. Examples might be catching up on a favorite podcast, listening to new music, or chatting with your best friend via a hands-free headset. Then save that pleasure for your next workout session. Are you dying to know what happens next in that audiobook you’re listening to? Grab those earbuds and get in motion.
Be flexible with your plans.
Sticking with your routine is a worthy goal, but be willing to change your workout plan for the day. On days when you’re just not feeling it, doing something is often better than doing nothing at all. Come up with an activity that will get you up and moving but won’t take a Herculean effort. Then, without thinking about it too much, just start it.
Wait…you’re not having fun?
When you find yourself putting off exercise, it may be time to rethink your plan. If running is sheer agony for you, then why pound the asphalt 5 days a week? There are so many ways to get your cardio in. Some are bound to be more fun for you than others. The same is true for building strength. Bottom line? Make sure your fitness routine is based on something you enjoy.
Even for exercise veterans, getting started is sometimes the hardest part of a workout. So, whatever gets you moving is probably a good trick to keep in your pocket. You have the power to stop procrastination in its tracks.
Don’t forget, whether you choose to stay active on-the-go or at home, you can access thousands of gyms and fitness centers nationwide through the Active&Fit Direct™ program, as well as thousands more on-demand workout videos. You can access Active&Fit Direct through your employer, health plan, or association.