Overcoming Exercise Procrastination
Overcoming Exercise Procrastination
Chances are, if you are reading this, then you have a current desire to get in better shape and become a better steward of the body that God has given you. The question is; “What is stopping you from having that desire to come to fruition?” A department of Labor survey asked adults to identify the single biggest issue that prevents them from achieving their health and fitness goals; “Procrastination,” took the #1 spot. The second spot went to “a lack of discipline”. It happens to me, it happens to everyone, we desire an outcome, but lack the discipline to follow through with the required actions to achieve that desired outcome. We know that there is a price to be paid, however, we don’t have the intestinal fortitude to see it all the way through.
Is it possible to increase our natural discipline and drive by just implementing a few simple strategies? And what if we wanted to establish new patterns of behavior that made discipline feel less ominous than a barking drill sergeant and more affirming? Are there ways for the undisciplined to learn and practice discipline?
Let’s find out!
In my experience a lack of discipline means a lack of purpose. If you can easily justify or reason away your fitness offenses in your own mind, then you’re going to pretty well do whatever you want to do. We often think we don’t possess discipline, but we merely lack purpose and direction for that discipline to spring forth. Having a clear, cut, reachable and written goal is the first step. It’s like having a target and shooting a grappling hook toward that target, locking onto it, and then slowly taking actions to bring you further along the line toward that target. Now, more than ever, you should have a clear purpose; becoming better stewards of God’s body he has lent you while you are on Earth.
Now, if you’re not apt to holding yourself accountable, or don’t trust your goal sheet to steer clear of the paper shredder, then publish your goals wider. Make it known to others. Enlist friends, family members and anyone else who can provide positive support to your quest. Having a positive support system will multiply and branch out your discipline beyond your own capacity.
You’re accountability partners can be a great help encouraging you along your goals and giving you the discipline that you need. Just like a teacher won’t take you’re “my dog ate my homework” excuse, an accountability partner won’t take you’re “not eating 5 brownies will hurt my friends feelings” excuse. Just be sure your support members are not struggling with the same issues and are not willing to support you’re efforts.
Just how effective can this be? In a study of beginning exercisers when people were held accountable they were 20 times more likely to stick with their fitness plan 6 months down the road.
What else can you do? Have an action oriented mindset, rather than defensive.
People often blame their, “character” or “genes” for being overweight or having trouble staying fit. Fitness is not a character trait – it’s a result of your daily actions; so as discipline is not a trait – it’s about taking the right actions.
When you look at fitness as one giant concept, the uphill struggle is immense, but when you look at fitness as just one simple action at a time, building them into habits, organized and productive action – that enables us to reach our goals.
One action tends to clone itself if we first allow ourselves to break from our limiting, fear-driven attitudes that dictate a negative self-concept. Reclaim the emotional and psychological ground lost to negative attitudes and low esteem by doing one thing. Just one! Steam some vegetables and prepare a healthier meal this evening, or take a 30-minute walk after dinner. Ideally, do them both, but do at least one.
If nothing else, start by enlisting your accountability partners. As having a positive support system is a sure fire way to take your discipline to new levels, after all no-one wants to explain to their accountability partner why they failed to do their part.
Just as you wouldn’t jump up and run around naked in church (at least I hope you wouldn’t) you are now playing for a much bigger team. You are not just transforming your body for that class reunion, wedding, vacation or to fit in that new dress, you are transforming your body by becoming a better steward of the body that God has given you. You are not exercising just for the aesthetic reasons, but you are doing it to thank God for the gift he has given you. You are cherishing that gift, you are taking care of that gift, and you are doing it to become a better witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.