Before you dive in to your exercise program, take a moment to think about some of the barriers that may prevent you from establishing exercise as a regular habit in your life — and then develop some strategies to address these barriers. Think of this process as an insurance policy against anything that may hinder your fitness commitment.
Barriers come in two forms:
Internal Barriers: These are perceptions you have about yourself and exercise, such as: I just don’t have time to exercise. Exercise is not fun for me. Exercise is too difficult for me. I don’t have the discipline to stick with it.
External Barriers: Environmental pressures, such as: My family obligations prohibit me from exercising. My work schedule/location prevents me from exercising. Bad weather makes it difficult for me to exercise. My other commitments make it difficult for me to find time to exercise. I am not supported at home/work in my efforts to exercise. I have television shows that I really like to watch.
Make SMART goals
Specific: Detailed, easy to measure
Measurable: Numbers, how often, how much, how long.
Realistic: Something I can do given what is going on in my life.
Time: By a certain date, in one week, six weeks or three months.
Goal: By Nov. 1, 2013, I will be going to my gym three times a week and lifting weights for 45 minutes.
Objectives: At the beginning of the first week I will assess how often I am coming to the gym.
By the end of week one I will lift weights two times a week for 30 minutes. By the end of week two I will be lifting weights two times a week for 45 minutes.
By the end of week three I will be lifting weights three times a week for 30 minutes. By the end of week four and five I will be lifting weights three times a week for 45 minutes.
Benefits: Get stronger, be firmer, less jiggle in my arms, feel better about myself.
Challenges: Don’t have time.
What I need to be successful: Schedule a set time of day. Go to the gym rather than watch TV.
Challenges: Don’t have the energy.
What I need to be successful: Remember the feeling of energy I have when I am done working out.
Challenge: Being sore.
What I need to be successful: I feel better when I am done. Remember, a little sore is OK.
Meet with a fitness professional or wellness coach; he or she will help motivate you and keep you accountable with your choices for your new healthy lifestyle.
Information provided by Makala R. Brinkley, senior program director, Boone County Family YMCA, 608 Carroll St., Boone, 515-432-5925, www.dmymca.org.