Making Exercise a Habit
If you find yourself struggling to exercise, you are not alone. There are many reasons people don’t exercise, with a busy schedule, limited budget, insufficient energy, lack of motivation, and physical discomfort being amongst the top reasons.
Here are some tips for making exercise a habit!
Goals like losing weight, getting fit, and exercising more are incredibly vague, and they beg several questions. How much weight do you want to lose? How will you lose the weight or get fit? Setting goals that are SMART, or specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, will increase the likelihood of you achieving your goal. Let’s further examine the SMART criteria.
Specific: Your goal should be clear and easy to understand.
Measurable: Incorporate numbers into your goal so that you can track your progress and know when you have reached your goal.
Attainable: Having a challenging goal is good, but don’t be overzealous. Likewise, an easy goal is not very motivating. For weight loss goals, research shows that losing one to two pounds per week is attainable for most overweight people. Also, ensure that you have adequate resources, finances, and time to complete the goal.
Relevant: Select a goal that is important to you at that moment in time.
Time-bound: Include an end point in your goal. Knowing that you have a deadline is very motivating.
Below is an example of a SMART goal for weight loss: “I will lose ten pounds in five weeks by walking five days a week for 30 minutes each.”
In order to achieve your SMART goal, it is important to identify potential barriers that keep you from being active and then develop, evaluate, and analyze potential solutions to overcome these barriers. This is known as the IDEA approach. Below is an example of using the IDEA approach for a lack of time:
Identify barriers: lack of time
Develop solutions: Walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, take the stairs, select activities that require minimal time (e.g., jogging, running stairclimbing)
Evaluate which solutions you will try: Maybe you choose to walk or ride your bike to work and park farther away from your destination.
Analyze the effectiveness of the solutions: You determine that walking or riding your bike to work and parking farther away from your destination work well during fall, spring, and summer, but not during the cold winter. During winter, try exercising while you watch TV.
Social support will increase your accountability to exercising regularly. There are four types of social support: emotional, informational, companionship, and instrumental. Emotional support entails being provided with reinforcement and encouragement. Informational support involves someone explaining to you how to be active, whether that be through demonstrating proper lifting technique or how to use certain exercise equipment. Companionship is essentially having an exercise buddy. Lastly, instrumental support entails being supplied tangible resources, such as childcare, transportation, or a spotter. It is important that you identify which types of social support you need. If you need companionship, try exercising with a friend or attending group exercise classes. If you need informational or instructional support, consider consulting a personal trainer.
How Healics Can Help
Whether you are a company of two or 10,000, Healics can team with you to develop comprehensive wellness and coaching programs that help your employees achieve their goals.
Call us at 1-800-HEALICS today or contact us now to discuss health coaching solutions and ways you can provide your staff with the resources they need to live healthier, happier, more vibrant lives.