Oftentimes people engage me to start an exercise program. They are needing motivation because they don’t like to exercise and truly:
If they did like it, they most likely wouldn’t need me!
I totally get it when someone tells me that It is difficult for them to commit to 20 out of their day in an already compressed schedule, to do something that is on par with having a root canal–a daily root canal at that.
So it is not surprising when they look at me like I have two heads with the following response: Don’t do it. Don’t commit to 20 to 30 minutes.
It really is that simple.
At this point I share the chart that I have developed for tracking healthy activities and challenge them to do 1 of something, anything they like really. Anything that might seem easy. One minute on the treadmill, one sit up, one push up..whatever they are most inspired to do.
Because one of something is better than none of everything–and “none” is what they have already achieved.
From there, we talk about the next step, that is how to add on to “one”, perhaps a 15 second segment if it is a cardio routine or another repetition until a unit of 10 is reached. (It’s no accident that the “1” precedes the “0” in choosing repetitions of 10.)
Once 10 is reached: we try adding another “1” of something else.
I believe, if you start out committing to something that you dread in the first place, the entire exercise (pun intended) will be short lived and abandoned at the first sign of a plausible excuse.
In my experience, what ensures consistency and continued motivation is when the brain receives the time it needs to create a new pattern. Using the anticipation of greater accomplishment–which eventually translates to the anticipation of the work out itself–there is a chance to form that pattern as it allows an opportunity to ease into exercise gently and safely.
And if we look at it another way: One of something will always trump none of everything…