5 Ways To Overcome An “On-Again Off-Again” Exercise Cycle & Be More Consistent
I think we’d all agree that exercising is good for us.
We know there’s plenty of benefits associated with exercising; more energy throughout the day, less stress, and less chance of injury & illness.
Exercising is definitely a good thing.
Knowing this, why is it such a challenge committing to a weekly exercise schedule and remaining consistent with it?
Why the constant “on-again off-again” exercise cycle?
Have you ever experienced that? The on-again off-again exercise cycle? I know I have and it’s frustrating.
I’ll be consistent with my exercise for a week straight and then, for one reason or another, I get off track for a few days. Then I’ll be back on track for a few more days and then off again and the cycle continues.
What’s the deal? What causes these “on-again off-again” exercise cycles?
There’s lots of factors that can cause it although there’s the usual suspects that I see with myself and my clients time and time again.
Changes in work schedule, kids, family, friends, travel, and other social obligations pop up and leave you pressed for time, therefore compromising the time you had planned for exercise.
It Doesn't Feel Good
When you’re huffing and puffing to the point you can barely breath, let alone talk, during exercise, it’s uncomfortable and doesn’t feel good. Neither does having extremely sore muscles the next day to the point you can barely move.
Doing the same exercise routine day after day can get boring. I know it does for me. Without adding in a variety of different exercises, you’ll eventually get bored, being to plateau, and become unmotivated to exercise regularly.
An “on-again off-again” exercise cycle never allows you to fully get into a groove. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Having an on-off again exercise cycle never allows you to form a new exercise habit that’ll make exercising on a regular basis easier to handle.
There’s numerous others reasons as well why so many people struggle with maintaining a weekly exercise schedule.
Maybe one of these mentioned here is your challenge.
For me, it’s getting into a groove with exercise that I have found to be most effective.
When you’re in a groove, exercising regularly day after day, it becomes easier to stay consistent.
You find yourself exercising naturally without having to think about when and how you’ll get it done that day, you just do it.
Now that we know some of the bigger reasons why we’re challenged when it comes to maintaining a regular exercise schedule, what can we do about it?
What can you do to get over the challenges creating your “on-again off-again” exercise cycle?
I’ve tried numerous different approaches with myself and my clients.
Here’s five ideas I found work best:
The Right Mindset
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling like I have to do something. Many guess is you may feel the same.
Feeling like you have to exercise will probably be the reason you don’t.
Instead of thinking you have to exercise, think instead that you want to exercise, that it’s your choice to exercise (which it is). You’re exercising because you want to exercise, not because you have to.
Know Your Why
Give some thought to the reason or reasons why you want to exercise.
Whenever your reasons for exercise (your why) is part of a bigger picture, such as wanting to set a good example for your kids, have more energy, more confidence in yourself and around others, or beat illness such as stress and depression, it’s these why’s that’ll keep you going and consistent.
Have A Plan
Create a weekly exercise schedule that you know you can follow and will work for you based on your daily or weekly schedule. If you know you’re schedule will be different due to travel or other obligations, adjust your exercise schedule so that you can accommodate the changes and still get in your exercise.
Telling yourself you’re going to exercise 3 times this week isn't a plan. Define what days, what time, and what exercises you will do. That’s a plan.
Make It A Priority
The only way to successfully follow through on your weekly exercise schedule is to make it a priority. The same way you make your career, kids, and pets a priority.
There’s no “maybe I’ll do it, maybe I won’t”. There’s no maybe’s when it comes to priorities. It must and will get done, period. For more clarity on how to define priorities, take a look at this video.
Some Is Better Than None
If you find yourself with less time to exercise than you planned for, instead of just saying forget it and not exercising that day, complete a short and quick workout instead with the time you do have.
There’s lots of exercises you can do in just 5–10 minutes that are effective. The next time you find yourself pressed for time, here’s a quick 5 minute exercise routine you can do anytime, anywhere.
Remember, the only way these five ideas will help you is if you actually use them and do the work.
Nothing Works Unless You Do
Start by planning your exercise schedule based on the time you have available each week.
Prioritize your plan and do the work.
None of this works unless you do.
On days you find yourself limited for time, remember that some exercises is always better than no exercise. A quick 5 minute exercise routine will help keep you in a groove, consistent, and on your way to forming a new healthy habit (it takes 21 days).
Change up your exercise routine on a regular basis so that it doesn't get boring. Make it a treadmill run today and then an outside run tomorrow.
Keep it fun, different, and exciting.
Remember why your exercising (set an example for your kids, more energy, more confidence, less stress) and the fact you’re doing so because you want to, not because you have to.
Don’t wait until later, tomorrow, this weekend, or even next week to create your weekly exercise schedule. Take a few minutes and do it right now.
Keep It Simple
Don’t overwhelm yourself with a hectic schedule filled with all different types of exercises you want to get done.
#1. Start with identifying how many days per week you will commit to exercising.
#2. Next, based on your weekly schedule, decide what days make the most sense for you to exercise. Make sure you choose a day you know you’ll be able to get it done with no conflicts or distractions.
#3. When you have your days picked out, decide on a time. Make it a time that you know will for sure work. For example, if you know you’re not a morning person, don’t plan for 6am workouts unless you are fully ready to commit to that time and make it happen.
#4. Lastly, have an exercise routine already planned and ready to go so there’s no need to think about what exercises you’ll be doing that day.
Remember, don’t wait. Start right now.