Treadmill on Monday, weights on Tuesday, spin class on Wednesday. Have you ever set yourself a crazy workout schedule at the start of January only to have your gym pass gathering dust by the end of the month? When it comes to our goals, we all know the danger of getting carried away and making big commitments that we know we can’t sustain.
To get a new habit off the ground means starting small but that doesn’t mean you’ll stay at this beginner level forever. As soon as you feel like your habit is starting to stick you have to dial things up so you’re constantly progressing.
Pushing yourself to go that tiny bit further each week can make all the difference between success and failure and today we explain how to do just that.
It’s great to feel like you’re always making progress and the best way to do that is by starting small, really small. From eating one extra piece of fruit per day to making one new business call per week, starting small gets your habit off the ground without the need for a huge boost of motivation. Everyone can do one sit-up per day, right?
… but improve each week
Now you’ve made the fruit-eating, business calling or one sit-up per day into a habit, what tiny extras could you add on to make sure you’re progressing? For example could you drink a glass of water with that piece of fruit? Call another work contact? Or what about making it two sit-ups per day, seeing as you’re on the floor anyway?
Track and measure
Once your habit is established and you’re making improvements each week you need to find a way to capture your progress. Tracking is a great way to keep you going in the right direction and help you remain on the right path. Food logs and training diaries are a great idea, as are smart devices like fitness monitors.
Keep your ‘reason why’ close by
If you really feel like you’re flagging you may need a bit of a boost to keep you progressing. Now’s a great time to go right back to week one [add link] and dig out your ‘reason why’. Write it down and stick it somewhere prominent like the fridge so you see it every day. A great tip is to incorporate your goal into the passwords you use every day. That way it’s always at the forefront of your mind.
If all else fails, think of the alternative
When I was training for the Olympic Games I’d dream about winning a medal, but sometimes even that wasn’t enough to get me motivated to train. Instead I’d remind myself of the alternative. In my case that was the pain of finishing fourth. And that was enough to get me out of bed and down to the pool.
What’s the painful alternative for you if you don’t achieve this goal? Whether it’s your weight increasing each year or never being flexible enough to do that downward dog, a bit of ‘alternative’ motivation can give you the kick up the backside you need to keep going.
Leon Taylor competed for Great Britain at three Olympic Games and was the first British diver in over 44 years to win a silver medal. A BBC sports commentator and mentor to diving sensation Tom Daley, Leon is now a performance and wellness coach.