7 Ways to Prevent Self Sabotage When You Start Exercising

One of the biggest hurdles you will face when you are starting to workout is yourself. Negative thoughts, frustration, physical limitations, injuries, and good old-fashioned pain can derail your best intentions to get “in shape” and be healthier. So, how do you stop the self-sabotage and stay on track when you are figuring out how to start exercising?

1. When you are starting to workout, there is power in “again”.

Starting to workout is the hardest part about adopting a healthy lifestyle. Six weeks into a strength training for beginners program and you likely start seeing results that can keep you going. How do you get from day 1 to day 42? By doing your workout program again. And again. And again. Even if you don’t want to, even if you are sore, even if you are tired or frustrated by your lack of results, telling yourself that you are forming habits by doing these things “again” will help you keep going when you are feeling down.

2. Check your self-talk.

The way you talk to yourself when no one else is around will determine your success. In fact, studies have shown that the way you talk to yourself – whether aloud or in your mind – will lower your stress levels, increase your satisfaction with your life and boost your motivation. Some examples of both positive and negative self-talk are:

Negative Self Talk

Positive Self Talk

I’m not good at exercising. I am figuring out how to move my body.
I’ll never be able to ____. I may not be able to __ yet, but I will.
I’m fat/ugly/unlovable. My body is capable of doing whatever I ask it to do.
I ate ___. I’m awful. I enjoyed myself last night.
Time to get back to my new way of eating.

3. Eat the cookie and move on.

One of the biggest fallacies when you are starting to workout is that you can never, ever slip up, let your guard down, enjoy dessert, or change your routine. And if (and when) you do, you have blown all of your progress up to that point. This is simply untrue. Exercise for beginners is about creating habits that will last a lifetime, not losing weight or getting into shape for a moment and then going back to your old routine. With that framework in mind, you have to create a lifestyle that has allowances for a warm chocolate chip cookie from a world renowned bakery, a piece of birthday cake at your child’s party, or a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve. If you partake in one of life’s indulgences, do it mindfully, thoughtfully and with gratitude and move on.

4. Enlist the help of experts.

With thousands of classes, gyms, videos and opinions out there, knowing when and how to start exercising can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is no reason to go it alone in an attempt to figure out what works best for you. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer can set you on the right path to figure out how to start exercising with the equipment, skill level and time you already have. Best of all, a personal trainer can work with you anywhere – not just in a gym.

5. Make auto-pilot your goal.

Recent research suggests that willpower and self-control are like muscles that can become fatigued from overuse. While we are never completely out of willpower, using it for decisions that should be automatic can quickly deplete our reserves. This is why top CEOs tend to wear a “uniform” so they don’t have to waste decision-making ability on what to wear in the morning. Once you have settled on when and how to start exercising, your goal should be to turn your workout into an auto-pilot part of your daily routine rather than a decision to make on a daily basis. Since we tend to take the path of least resistance, turning difficult things into a “given” rather than an exercise in willpower will increase the likelihood you will stick to a nutrition program and workout routine.

6. Shrink the change.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Yet we approach changing our lifestyles with all the gusto of someone with their hair on fire. If we don’t make drastic, sudden, life-altering changes, how are we supposed to ever see any results?

As it turns out, making drastic, life-altering changes will almost assuredly set you up for failure. Remember how self-control is a muscle that gets fatigued? The only way to grow that muscle is to exercise it a little at a time. Shrinking the change down to one manageable thing can help get the ball rolling for larger, more dramatic changes. Don’t know where to begin? A certified personal trainer can help you identify which changes will make create an impact that will start you on your journey.

7. Practice patience.

When you are starting to workout, remember that it doesn’t take 30 days to create a new habit. It takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a behavior to become a habit, depending on the person, the situation, and the old habit you are replacing. The key is to be patient with yourself as you navigate how to start exercising and eating a healthy diet. You will not have all the answers now. Diet, hydration, strength training for beginners, and the level of cardiovascular exercise you will need will take trial and error to figure out.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Personal trainers are ideal professionals to help you set reasonable and attainable goals, make adjustments to your routines, and navigate the wealth of information out there. Yet finding a certified professional can be a daunting task. Start your search for the right trainer for you at findyourtrainer.com and discover the difference a personal trainer can make in your life.