If you’re like me, you’ve struggle with consistency in one area or another. And if you’re reallllllly like me, you’ve struggled to keep consistent with playing the guitar! Arrghhhh!
Every once in a while I’d practice for an hour or so, but then not touch it again for several months! Obviously, I didn’t become a better guitar player until I eventually became more consistent with my practice.
Developing consistency is something that’s vital for our all-around personal development. In the area of exercise consistency, my personal belief has always been quantity over quality. That is
I’m more impressed with the beginner who goes to the gym 4-5 times a week and exercises for 15 minutes, than someone who goes to the gym once a week for an intense 2-hour workout
In my experience I’ve found that success comes from taking small, consistent steps. The awesome part is that taking small, consistent steps can be applied to practically anything:
Instead of trying to exercise 5 times a week for 1 hour, trying starting out with 3 times a week for 20 minutes.
Maybe commit to reading one chapter a day instead of trying to finish an entire book in one sitting.
Rather than setting out to meditate for 20 minutes each day, try three minutes instead
Consistency leads to habits, while habits lead to long-term success. They say it takes 21 days to build a new habit, so determine to develop that 3-week foundation and you’ll be exercising regularly in no time!
Your consistency is paramount to your success
For developing consistency, quantity of effort means more than quality
Trying to do “too much, too soon” can hinder your progress (start off small!)
“No one reacts to how things are, but to his own mental images”- Maxwell Maltz
Years ago I was fortunate enough to train with inexperienced individuals as a personal trainer. This opportunity allowed me to understand the state of mind of many “gym beginners”. I realized it doesn’t take long to recognize common fears that come with working out publicly for the first time.
The good news is that these perceived fear factors are exactly that – perceived. Therefore, let’s go ahead and debunk some of these fear myths:
Fear Myth #1 – “Everyone at the gym is already experienced and ‘professional looking'”
The reality is that these “intimidating” looking gym members are more than likely focused on themselves. In fact, these are the ones who are most likely to sympathize and help you with unfamiliar exercise machines. These “advanced gym goers” know what it’s like to be a beginner and if there’s one thing an experienced person loves to do, it’s sharing the knowledge that they’ve learned. Remember, everyone’s had a first time.
Fear Myth #2 – “Everyone is staring at me mess up”
This might be the biggest fear obstacle and perhaps the biggest fear myth of all. Trust me, aside from someone being attracted to you, no one at your gym is hardly looking at you as much as you think. Ironically, the people you think are looking at you are too tied up with thinking others are looking at themselves! Chances are, everyone’s way too self-conscious about themselves to be conscious about you.
Fear Myth #3 – “All the machines and equipment look too complicated and I don’t know where to start”
Although some exercises machines can come off as intimidating, there are still small steps you can take towards implementing yourself in the gym. For instance, starting with something easy and/or familiaris a great way to gain confidence when first starting out at the gym. As with learning anything new, it’s important to give yourself time in becoming proficient at using gym equipment.
The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone has had a “first time” in the gym. The goal for you is to continue going a “second, third, fourth, and fifth time” until your gym attendance turns into a regular habit!
Most fears in the gym are perceived
People at the gym are most likely to be focused on themselves, than you
If you are new to the gym with start out with the easiest thing that you can do or something you’re most familiar with. This small initial step helps to keep the ball rolling.
Throughout the years I’ve learned to look at my exercise routine as a daily journey. The past several years of my exercise journey have taught me key values like discipline, consistency and mental focus, as well as a comprehensive understanding of how our body works. These exercise incentives have taught me the value of regular exercise.
“But why should I exercise though? What makes it worth it for me?”
Excellent question! People have all sorts of exercise incentives: to fit into that wedding dress they love, a desire to feel stronger, to gain more confidence, to clear one’s head after a long day of work – the list goes on. So with that, I’m going to answer the above question with another question:
How does keeping good health impact the things that are most meaningful to you in life?
Does the ability to squat down and play with your grand-kids someday have any meaning to you?
How about feeling more energetic throughout your work day?
Do you want to be able to sleep better at night before those big business meetings in the mornings?
How about a stress release at the end of a long work day?
How important is your health for those home & gardening projects you love so much?
Here’s the key:We’ll only commit to a purpose if it adds value and meaning to our lives.
Stop and write down the things that are important to you in life. Really think about it, your exercise incentives are personalized to you.
Whether it’s family, business, hobbies, or personal well-being, there are exercise incentives in just about every area of our lives. This is why it’s so important to constantly remind ourselves of what (or whom) we’re exercising for. Doing so also keeps us consistent on our journey at times where we don’t feel like working out.
Here are some additional exercise incentives:
Reduced risk of diabetes
Even if you’ve been putting off exercise for a while – don’t worry about it! Instead, recognize today as a new day and start celebrating the beginning of a new YOU!
Your health impacts the quality of those things which are valuable and meaningful to you in life
Your exercise incentives are unique and personalized to you
It’s important to constantly remind ourselves of what (or whom) we’re exercising for
So you’ve decided to embark upon a new daily exercise routine and today is Day 1. As you near the gym you begin going through your mental checklist.
Comfortable workout shoes?
New gym membership?
But as you step foot inside the gym, you suddenly notice dozens of people walking around, stretching, and using funky looking equipment and you think to yourself
“Wow, where in the world do I start!? I feel so lost!”
If you’ve had similar thoughts, I promise – you’re not alone! The overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start is something myself and many others have experienced our first time at the gym. Eventually, what worked for me was starting out with easy and familiar exercises. This kept me from feeling overwhelmed and fearful. My mindset at the time was simply:
“Become a master at what you already know”
Such a mindset helps calm your nerves when figuring out where to start at the gym.
For instance, if the treadmill is the only exercise machine that you’re familiar with, then start “treadmilling” away as if you’ve been doing it for years. Or perhaps you’d like to build muscles and the only exercise you’re familiar with are dumbbell curls. Your best bet is to walk right over to that dumbbell rack, pick up a suitable weight, and start curling away!
Not only does “mastering what you already know” help settle you down, it ultimately gives you that much needed sense of belonging in the gym.
Although it helps having a wider range of exercises down the line, you initially want to find your comfort zone. Comfort leads to confidence, and confidence will give you that “sense of belonging” you need in order to thrive!
“A little progress each day adds up to big results” -unknown
We’ve all felt “lost” in the gym at one point
Become a master at what you already know: start easy and familiar
Being comfortable in the gym leads to confidence, confidence gives you a sense of belonging.