The self-care movement is at risk of becoming riddled with shallow, watered-down opinions. These often revolve around hedonistic behavior with little-to-no real value. The focus is too often on things like meaningless massages, nights spent out on the town, and prioritizing “me-time” over responsibilities and health.
The truth is, while massages and me-time are fine in moderation, real self-care needs to focus on basic things, like healthy eating, positive thinking …and exercise. Working out is a critical piece of self-care. And yet, it too often gets shifted to the back burner.
If you want to take better care of your body, here are a few authentic, real-life self-care tips to help you design and maintain a workout regimen focused on long-term health.
Arrange for Accountability
Before you start brainstorming your new workout routine, start by setting up some accountability lifelines. If you are the only one overseeing your fitness regimen, it’s too easy to slack off or even peter out over time.
By finding a quality accountability partner, you can ensure that your workout efforts remain focused. Rather than picking someone just because you like them, look for an individual who shares your passion for fitness — and ideally your goals, too. If they’re a bit further along the fitness track, that’s even better, as they can serve as a benchmark to spur on your efforts.
Whoever you choose, make sure they’re willing to call you out if you begin to drift from your original workout intentions.
Along with human accountability, you can also use tech to both challenge and inspire you. For instance, wearable fitness trackers can help you stay on track in multiple ways. This starts with helping you track your activity. You can use these metrics to make sure you’re moving enough each day.
On top of that, you can use tech to help monitor your sleeping and eating patterns. This can keep you in tip-top shape each and every time you go to work out.
Get a Strategy in Place
Working out without a real strategy is a recipe for disaster. Inconsistent activities and sporadic schedules will derail your attempts in no time.
Instead, spend some time seriously strategizing before you commit to a particular routine. Ask yourself important questions, like:
- Should I work out at home or at the gym?
- Should I focus on cardio or weight lifting?
- What routines will benefit my exercise while also being sustainable over time?
- How can I eat and sleep in order to support my fitness activities?
By taking the time to strategize first, you ensure that you develop a workout regimen that you can keep up over the long haul.
Create Clear, Flexible Goals
When you go to start a new workout, it’s easy to become blinded by a too-perfect version of what you want to accomplish. If you want your workout regimen to be sustainable, you have to ditch this all-or-nothing mindset.
By giving in to black and white thinking, you create rigid pass or fail filters and set yourself up for disaster. And, of course, once those quixotic objectives are established, you’re going to come up short sooner or later.
Instead of getting uptight about your fitness goals, try to stay flexible. If you want to work out for an hour every day, content yourself with 15 minutes the first week. Then work your way up to 20 minutes, then 25 minutes, and so on from there. The critical factor is that you see this process as working your way toward success rather than failing to reach unrealistic expectations.
Set the Stage for Success
Along with a solid strategy and clear, flexible goals, it’s also worthwhile to physically set the stage for your workout success.
For instance, you may be considering working out from home because it’s convenient. This is a perfectly legitimate option — but only if you go into it with both eyes open. It’s far too easy to get distracted when working out at home.
Make sure to create an effective workout space within your home in order to avoid this potential problem. A few ways to do this include:
- Designating an area that is dedicated to working out and nothing else.
- Investing in workout items, from a basic yoga mat and dumbbells to a trampoline, jump rope, and anything else that will keep you moving.
- Renting equipment from your local gym in order to increase the intensity of your workouts.
- Using apps and YouTube to give you access to instructor-led training.
Designating spaces and lining up the right tools and equipment are important first steps when working out at home.
Similarly, if you’re exercising outside or at a gym, look for ways to invest in your routine and set the stage for success. This makes your workouts more convenient and accessible and ultimately makes it much easier to stay in a groove once you get a regimen up and running.
Designing a Sustainable Workout Routine
Exercise isn’t just helpful. It’s a critical self-care activity. It keeps you in shape, reduces stress, and generally enhances your health.
So consider the above tips. From accountability to fitness trackers, strategies to setting the stage, where are you lacking the necessary support for success? As you ponder the question, consider how you can create a workout regimen that isn’t just good in theory — but one that you can maintain for weeks, months, and even years at a time.