How to get back on track (when you all off the fitness bandwagon)
So many of my friends and challengers have mentioned the same problem the past couple weeks: “I was so bad in December, I need to get back on track!” The holidays – or any disruption of habit – is a common time to fall off the fitness bandwagon. Here are a few things you need to know to get yourself back on track:
Get Back with a Bang
One of my favorite ways to get back on track with clean eating is to do the 3-Day Refresh. It is a quick-start to weight loss if you’re feeling heavy, and gets your eating habits back on track in a big way FAST. Read more about My Experience with 3-Day Refresh.
If you can’t get back with a bang, then start small. You know that science term, inertia? It implies that what is in motion tends to stay in motion. The same principle applies to health and fitness. To restart your mojo, often all you need to do is start. This doesn’t mean have to jump in two-feet into the deep end, either. Sometimes just starting is as simple as walking a block. Then a block becomes a mile. A mile becomes a 5K. Starting the process itself is motivating, no matter how small the start may be.
Turn Routines into Habits
The basal ganglia in the brain instinctively likes to make any of your routines a habit when you use the Cue–>Routine–>Reward loop. You can use can use this information to your advantage when trying to get back into the swing of things. One way is to create cues surrounding your fitness routines. These cues can be physical, mental or emotional – such as working out as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning or putting on your running shoes.
This process works even more effectively when there is a reward after the routine such as having your shake when you’re done or taking a relaxing bubble bath. Once the cues become ingrained and are associated with your routine, then rewarded, your habits are born. When a habit is created, the brain doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the mental process behind activity, and the habit becomes hard to break.
Analyze Your Downfall
Just as you can use inertia and routine to create good habits, these processes can also explain why you fell off the bandwagon to begin with. Was there a routine/reward that caused you to derail? Did having a glass of wine at night instead of working out reward you with feelings of relaxation? Did sitting on the couch with a bag of chips become more fun than working out? Being aware of the the cues that caused you to stop your healthy routines is powerful information. You can take that information and try to replace them with other behaviors, which it turn become routine and then habit.
Be Aware of Your Excuses
Chances are there was some self-talk going on that prevented you from working out or eating healthy foods. Do any of the excuses below sound familiar? They are just some of the excuses my challengers listed as things they tell themselves that prevent them from working out. As a coach, I tell them I’m not buying their excuses. I’ve heard all sorts of excuses, and most of them I can relate to myself.
Assignment: Write down all of the things you tell yourself to talk yourself out of living fit. The next time you use any of them, realize you’re not fooling anyone.
What works for you when you fall off the bandwagon? Comment below!