“I’ll start my diet on Monday”
“I’ll sign up for a gym membership in January”
Have you recited these lines to yourself, your partner, or your friends before? Have you EVER followed through on that diet or gym membership?
Procrastination is at play here – where we put something off, most times because we anticipate it to be a difficult task.
For example, joining a new gym can sound intimidating, or committing to a healthier meal plan sounds like a lot of work. The bigger the challenge is, the more difficult it seems, and the more likely you are to put it off.
By saying yes to comfort – i.e. staying home instead of going to the new gym, or continuing business as usual with take-out instead of making time for grocery shopping and meal prep – you remain in your comfort zone… but how comfortable is that Comfort Zone to begin with?
If your comfort zone involves you being out of breath after a flight of stairs, or not sleeping well, or wanting to keep up with your active grandkids… perhaps this so-called comfort is holding you back.
But how do we break the spell of procrastination to achieve awesomeness?
Set achievable goals
Procrastination can take root when a goal seems TOO BIG.
It’s easy to get excited about the possibilities a healthy diet and exercise regime can provide: being 6 dress sizes smaller, 20 lbs stronger, sleeping 8 hours a night on a regular basis... it sounds GLORIOUS, right?
But the PROCESS of getting there – strict, consistent effort? That sounds TOUGH!
So instead of setting our sights too far ahead, focus on realistic, achievable goals and break them down into small pieces that you feel confident in managing.
This is not about selling yourself short – it’s about starting slow, and gradually building over time. Setting realistic goals and achieving them is a great way to start your fitness journey and break the big scary goal – the one that pushes you to procrastinate – into something you will achieve!
Something is better than nothing
It would be AWESOME if you had the time, motivation, energy, and resources to work out for 1 hour a day. It would be STUPENDOUS if you could embark on an intense regiment that would add 10 lbs to your back squat and shave 20 seconds off your 400 m sprint in 90 days.
However, this type of commitment takes a lot of time, motivation, energy, and resources. Sometimes, they are in short supply.
If you find yourself in low supply of one or more of these things, remind yourself that something is better than nothing.
For example, set a timer for 10 minutes and do a workout for that amount of time. If you find you gain some energy or motivation partway through, you can extend your workout to longer. If not, get through the 10 minutes and aim for more tomorrow.
Anything is better than nothing. Don’t procrastinate. Just do SOMETHING!
Make it enjoyable!
Exercise doesn’t have to be painful and anxiety-provoking to be effective.
If you’ve been living by that assumption, get it out of your mind.
Of course, pushing yourself to lift or run more is going to be slightly uncomfortable. But if you have been putting off working out because you think you need to do a specific type of exercise – spin, weight lifting, Zumba, resistance bands, sprinting, swimming, yoga – that doesn’t jive with you… you can totally redirect your efforts to something that DOES jive with you.
Better yet, turn your workouts into a social event, too! Workout with a friend, family member, or partner and you can bond over your sweat sessions.
Chip away at the dread that pushes you to procrastinate by replacing your exercise with something you look forward to doing!