Why are we expert procrastinators when exercising?
USA Today reports that a full 67 percent of gym memberships go completely unused. And even among "active" members, 90% exercise no more than twice a week.
Yet, working out regularly makes us look and feel good, reduces the chance of getting heart disease or cancer, and improves our sleep and our immune system. A study reported that 150 minutes of exercise each week increase life expectancy by about 7 years over those who don't do regular work out.
Why do we procrastinate and give up on such a good deal?
Let's dig into our brains and discover the root of our laziness so we can fix it.
Yet, we procrastinate
How times have we scheduled a workout for tomorrow and ended up not doing it because [insert a good excuse here]?
Why? Delayed gratification. A workout will make you happy and healthy but it has a price and you have to pay it upfront. The cost creates the Resistance: an inner force trying to sabotage your goals and dreams.
- "It's raining"
- "I need a coach"
- "My sports buddy is sick"
- "I'm tired"
The Resistance is smart. It comes up with perfect excuses not to work out today.
The Resistance is creative. It makes you believe you'll exercise tomorrow.
That's how the procrastination cycle starts and never ends.
You don't need a friend or a coach, you don't need a gym membership or a pair of shoes (I work out barefoot). This is all bullshit made up by the Resistance so you don't feel guilty watching Netflix. Let's defeat the Resistance.
How to create a workout habit that sticks
The only difference between you and someone who works out every day is that she knows how to beat the Resistance.
🐜 Start small
The more willpower required, the stronger the Resistance. Start with a short exercise session, a 20-minute home workout on Youtube for instance. Something barely impossible to say no.
I hear you thinking "It's not enough if I want to build abs". That's your Resistance finding an ambitious excuse. A short workout is better than no workout at all.
❤️🔥 Find a sport you love
I am a crowded indoor place full of sweat that is expensive and full of testosterone, what am I?
A gym, yes! You don't need to follow the crowd. If you don't like lifting weight, why go to the gym?
It will just make it easier for the Resistance to defeat you.
I recently moved back to Bali after being in Paris for one year. Instead of working out from home, I surf. It requires no willpower and I'm 3 times more consistent.
There are tons of amazing sports out there. Climbing, running, skateboarding. If you can't find a sport you love, turn a regular workout into a game. I built Habits Garden to help you work out consistently while having fun.
🔂 Show up everyday
Humans are wired like clocks. Sleep 8 hours, eat 3 meals a day, and drink 2 liters of water. Repeat every day. If you want to defeat the Resistance forever, you must include a short workout session in your daily routine.
It takes 66 days to build a habit. After that, the reverse effect happens: If you don't work out, you'll feel bad. So don't take days off.
🎯 Do it alone
You've probably heard friends are good to find motivation and get things done. Teamwork is great to get started, but very bad to keep going.
Life is busy and our schedules are constantly changing. It's unlikely you and your friend's schedules will match for long. Once the pact is broken, you'll go back to square one.
The Resistance loves this kind of story because all it takes to defeat you is "My friend is busy, we will try to workout tomorrow instead".
We are all victims of the inner force sabotaging our long-term goals, called the Resistance.
"I'll workout out tomorrow" means "I won't work out".
Don't let the Resistance trick you. All it takes to win is to act now.
Go get your shoes and run for 20 minutes.
PS: If you want to add anything to this, ping me on Twitter (after you've worked out 😉)
Discover other posts to fight procrastination, form good habits, break bad ones and live a better life.
"Take action now, because tomorrow never comes"