How to Stick With Your Fitness Program
Have you ever made New Year’s resolutions that you didn’t keep? I think we have all had good intentions to do things over the years, yet didn’t follow through. We usually start out enthusiastic about the change, and then after a while our enthusiasm goes by the wayside. Why is that?
My friend and colleague Art Turock has a theory that the problem stems from the difference between interest and commitment. For example, when interested exercisers who have started a walking or running program wake up and find it raining outside, they lie back down and say, “I think I’ll exercise tomorrow.” But when committed exercisers wake up and find it’s raining, they get out of bed and say, “I think I’ll exercise inside today.” People who are interested in doing something will do it if all goes as planned — but give them a hiccup or two and they don’t follow through. People who are committed to do something will continue to do it, no matter what. In other words: They keep their commitment to their commitment.
I’m one of those people who couldn’t keep my commitment to a fitness plan alone. I needed help. That help came from my friend Tim Kearin, a health and fitness coach who had been patient with me for a long time. Each year we went through the same routine: Tim would receive a call from me early in the year to begin a fitness program. I would get underway with enthusiasm, but after a month or so I would gradually become too busy to keep my commitment to my commitment. The process would start again at the beginning of the next year.
I finally realized that if I were going to become fit once and for all, I would need to behave on my good intentions for myself rather than because other people wanted me to do it. Tim worked with me on my fitness journey every step of the way. Not only were we successful, I’ve been able to stay committed and for three years now have been in the best shape of my life with no end in sight. I hope that by sharing these tips with you, you’ll be inspired to keep your commitment to your commitment to do something that will improve your life, too. I’ll turn it over to Tim now so he can give you some specifics.
Selecting the Right Program for You. Several very important elements must be put in place when preparing for your own program.
Have a compelling purpose. Remember, whether you have a health-driven purpose, a cause-driven purpose, or a personally driven purpose, it must be your purpose, not someone else’s. You are doing this yourself.
Get a medical checkup. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that any individual over age 40 should check with a physician prior to starting a vigorous exercise program. I would add that a sedentary individual of any age should do the same. This can range from a “minute clinic” visit to a full-fledged medical and physical exam such as Ken had at the Lifewellness Institute. The purpose for the medical checkup is to ensure that you don’t have a medical condition that would prohibit or limit your participation.
Get educated about fitness. This is important because you need to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Fitness advice comes at us from everywhere in every form of media — books, magazines, TV programs, DVDs, the Internet, seminars, etc. Even my local newspaper has an entire section dedicated to fitness every Tuesday. Because a license is not required to teach or write about fitness, virtually anyone could call himself or herself a professional. Be sure to do your homework before laying out your money or following someone’s advice based on appearances or marketing hype. A consultation with a legitimate fitness professional can help guide you to the most appropriate information sources for your age and fitness level.
Establish goals. As with any other worthwhile project, it is necessary to set goals throughout your fitness program to achieve good results. Be sure your goals are SMART goals: Specific, Motivating, Attainable, Relevant, and Trackable. This is the time to pay a fitness professional for what he or she knows. At a minimum, the person should have a bachelor’s degree in sports science and experience in working with people of your age group.
For years, I offered people at this early stage a three-session startup. Each session was an hour in length. During the first session I would evaluate health history, do a simple fitness evaluation, discuss goals, and talk about the plan. The third session was a one-month follow-up to see how the client was progressing. A startup plan such as this is an effective way to be sure you are beginning a program suitable for your specific needs and goals.
Set up a support system. Any time you measure long-term success, the results are often only as good as your support system. An effective support system usually starts with a spouse or significant other, and the best scenario is when you are working on your fitness together. When this is not the case, at a minimum you need to have this person’s genuine support.
If you don’t have a significant other who is part of your fitness program, try to identify another reliable workout partner. Ideally, this should be someone who has the same goals you have and — most important — someone who is at least as motivated as you are. I always find that when I play golf with golfers who are better than I am, I play better. Choose wisely!
The rest of your support team can include family members, friends, and work colleagues who have your best interests at heart.
The above is an excerpt from the book Fit at Last: Look and Feel Better Once and for All by Ken Blanchard and Tim Kearin.
Copyright © 2014 Ken Blanchard and Tim Kearin, reprinted with permission.
Ken Blanchardis coauthor of Fit at Last: Look and Feel Better Once and for All. [Editor’s note: This link in for the hardbound edition.]He is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, is cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the author or coauthor of sixty books that have sold more than 21 million copies, including the iconic One Minute Manager®.
Tim Kearinis coauthor of Fit at Last: Look and Feel Better Once and for All. [Editor’s note: This link is for the Kindle edition.] He has more than forty years of experience in fitness include serving as director of strength training and conditioning at the United States Military Academy; developing the preventive medicine component at Hughston Clinic; founding Personally Fit, Inc.; and working as clinical consultant for the San Diego Spine Clinic. He has a master’s degree from Indiana University.