How difficult is it for you to start a workout plan?
This is not only for newbies. It is also for long-term active women who stopped for a few months either due to pregnancy, illness, or summer vacation.
What makes or breaks your success is commitment.
I have put here 5 simple and easy-to-follow steps, to kick off your workout plan. Once you have committed for two months, success at maintaining it becomes easier as you go.
Start with a Goal
This might look trivial, however, the more effort and thought you put into this step, the easier the rest will follow. Make sure to put in place a goal that is relevant to you. Make sure that you articulate the goal to be specific, measurable, and attainable based on where you are today. Once you are happy with the goal, break it down into checkpoints or milestones that will enable you to track your progress.
Remember that you can revisit the checkpoints as you go based on your progress. Having this engraved in your mind will make you more engaged. Being flexible and going easy on yourself, especially at the beginning, will make you more committed.
At this stage, you will research the available online and on-ground programs available, all that is aligned with the goal you have set for your own workout plan.
You might spend hours surfing social media and exposing yourself to pictures of successful pros, who present workouts that are not necessarily suitable for your fitness level and busy schedule. So, do not get fixated on signing up for the most trending program.
What matters is to choose what is suitable for you and what aligns with your goals.
You can try different programs to see how engaged you are. Do not be ashamed to learn a new sport or join a team. When you adopt a growth mindset and a beginners’ mind, you will include options such as Tennis and Swimming, even if you never played them.
Once you land on the program you like, write down a plan that includes the number of times you will work out. You don’t have to spend an hour daily to achieve your goal. For some women, doing a 20-minute workout at home in the morning is enough.
Build the Habit
At this stage, we need to start a new habit, which seems hard at the beginning, but once it is set in your subconscious it will become automatic.
What makes a habit stick can be summarized into small steps; link it to an existing habit and reward yourself.
By sticking the new habit to an existing one, you increase the chances of success and commitment. For example “after I brush my teeth, I will do 20 minutes of TABATA.” Or “on my way back from work I will go to the Gym”.
For the reward, choose a simple and available reward. You can even use a progress chart that you stick on the fridge and after each workout, you give yourself a Star. This will tell your subconscious that working out is a positive activity and it will make your inner CEO push you to commit more.
Make sure that the workout makes you feel happy and good about yourself. If you choose a program that leaves you frustrated or exhausted every time, change it ASAP. This would be reversing the effect we are attempting in step 3. The more positive you feel the more your subconscious will push you to do more. This is how it is designed. If you are the competitive type, remember to tell yourself that you are competing only with yourself. Always go back to the plan and track your progress and make it clear that you are improving.
Celebrate your Success
When you reach a milestone, you have to celebrate. This is not optional.
People always tend to forget to celebrate their own success. Make an actual celebration with your loved ones and announce wins.
This will keep you going forward. When you reach the goal that you have put in Step 1, get yourself a gift.
This is just the beginning. Your goal is a live document that you will update as you go. So, now is the time for a new goal and new milestones. This will ensure that you always go forward and stay committed to being active and healthy.
Laila Aboulenein is an executive and mental toughness coach who holds over 22 years in the telecommunication industry and has been coaching for 8 years and has 800+ coaching hours. She has worked with individuals and groups of diversified backgrounds, undergraduates, athletes, corporate employees, management, startups, and executives to address their challenges and to reach their full potential through the use of various coaching techniques that she adopts to the clients’ needs and capabilities. Among the topics she has coached are self-esteem, business challenges, career challenges, emotional imbalances, and much more. Laila’s core strengths are goal alignment & achievement, empathizing ability, listening skills, capacity to confront and challenge, problem-solving ability, and capacity to empower.