Change your workout program regularly
“If you do the same thing for a long time, you won’t grow as fast, and you’ll get bored more easily,” Lyon says. “An exercise program needs to be re-evaluated regularly to avoid staleness.” There’s another reason to vary your training: Muscles become accustomed to the stresses of unvaried Workouts and essentially become “bored” as well Lyon recommends developing a routine that mixes hard days and easy days, which you can do with a trainer or just by following the advice in Men’s Fitness. This will give you faster results and will help keep your Workouts from becoming mundane.
Set a firm schedule
Write your upcoming workout times in a datebook or calendar, and stick to them as you would any other appointment. “If you set a time to work out, you’re more likely to do it. But if you say, ‘I’m going to exercise sometime today,’ you may not ever get around to it,” says Bradley Cardinal, PhD, co-director of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Laboratory at Oregon State University and a leading expert on why people become and remain physically active. If you find that you frequently need to be elsewhere at the appointed hour, or that you often feel tired and unmotivated at that time, then change your schedule to one that better meets your needs.
Work out with a buddy
There’s a simple reason for this rule’s success: If you’ve planned to meet someone at the gym, you pretty much have to show up on time. (Assuming, of course, that your friend is the sort who shows up on time himself.) You don’t even have to work out together, although some guys find that motivating as well. “Having both of you there will help you to push each other along,” Lyon says.
Keep in mind, though, that a workout partner should be at approximately the same level as you. “If you want to run 10 miles and your buddy can’t last past five, that can be a problem,” Lyon says.
The benefits of working out can take time to see, so give yourself some more immediate payoffs. ‘Make a behavioral contract with yourself, saying. ‘I’ll do this during the week. and on the weekend I’ll go to the movies,'” advises Cardinal. If the rewards are good enough, you may be amazed at how well you respond to basic self-bribery.
Try the “five-minute compromise”
If you simply don’t feel like working out when you’ve intended to, tell yourself you’ll exercise for five minutes, and that if you don’t want to continue at that point you’ll stop. Most of the time, you’ll end up doing the whole workout anyway.
If you’ve been skipping workouts, you need to remember the reasons you started exercising in the first piece. “One missed session isn’t the end of the world – you can just get back into it,” says Cardinal. “Two missed sessions, or a week’s worth, and you need to ask yourself why you’re avoiding it. Then reflect on what makes working out important to you, and stress the positive benefits.”
Prepare to succeed
Even if you’ve had trouble with procrastination in the past, tell yourself that this time you’re going to meet your goals. “If you think you’re going to fail at an exercise program, you won’t work as hard because you’ll have a built-in excuse,” says psychologist Timothy Pychyl, PhD, director of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Try visualizing your success – picture yourself with a more muscular body, feeling more energetic and improving at your favorite sports.
Get an “exercise identity”
“Your self-concept as an exerciser can be very motivating if people reinforce you for being active and you like to hear it about yourself,” says Cardinal. In other words, start seeing yourself as a jock. Join a sports team, hang out with people who work out themselves and will appreciate your progress buy yourself some new clothes that enhance your physique. You’ll stop missing workouts as you begin to view exercise as an integral part of your life.
Let yourself off the hook
Chronic procrastinators tend to have high levels of anxiety, and worrying about your workouts will just add to the pressure. When you dwell on the sessions you’ve missed, exercise can start to seem like an odious chore. Instead, concentrate on enjoying your next Workout more than the last. Think about the “high” you’ll get when endorphins flood Your body, or anticipate the feeling of accomplishment you’ll have when you’ve gotten one step closer to your goal.
Call you give up workout procrastination entirely? Maybe not – but Cardinal believes that once you make the transition from being a sedentary person to someone who enjoys working out regularly, it’s harder to slip back into your old bad habits. And when you begin to see fitness as a lifelong process, you may find that you don’t want to put it off anymore.