You wake up Monday morning with your whole day planned out. Your meals are prepped and you grab what you need before heading out the door. You look at your schedule for the day and plan on hitting the gym after your late afternoon meeting. Then, the late afternoon is here and your meeting runs much later than you had planned. It might be too late to hit the gym and you plan to head on home. You feel a little guilty but it’s not like you blew off your co-workers or a serious meeting or anything, right?
This article is written for those that need just a little bit more accountability. This is an experiment for those who may have difficulty getting the ball rolling. I challenge you to start physically scheduling your workouts. Put it somewhere that you are going to have to physically alter to cancel your upcoming session. It may seem silly or simple, but when we’re talking about changing behavior, sometimes a small buffer, something that makes you stop what you’re doing and think before you act, can be a great tool.
Trust me, I’ve been there before. You’ve worked a full day, and the last thing you want to do is drive across town and get more work in. The thing is, deep down, you know, that getting in that last hour of work will re-charge your batteries for the next day or improve your sleep quality that night. That extra hour of work is just you getting one session closer to your fitness goals. These are the types of thoughts I want you to try having while you physically delete that scheduled fitness meeting from your phone or mark it out of your daily planner.
You would never blow off co-workers or prospects if you had a meeting with them, right? If slowing down the act of cancelling your fitness plans isn’t enough to make you stop and think, try seeing things this way. A famous stand-up comic, Mike Birbiglia, hates writing. He hates it so much that he would procrastinate and waste day after day when he could be typing out material to use on stage. What he decided to start doing is scheduling meetings with himself to write. He would treat these meetings as if he was meeting an employer or potential client, something you would never cancel or just blow off. He would schedule this writing session as a concrete commitment that he would have to physically cancel to get out of. No one can make you write or go to the gym, but when you’re bombing on stage or having a doctor telling you need to make some serious changes things get a little more intense and focused.
I understand that life happens and you do have to miss meetings for work now and then. I invite you to try this for a week, or a month, and see how it effects how you hold yourself accountable. I would begin with setting yourself up for success. If you’re not an early bird, I wouldn’t schedule all my workouts at 5 am. If you have a very physically demanding job, maybe you’re out in the sun all day, I don’t schedule all my workouts for 9 pm. If you are in one or both of these boats, I would invite you to limit the damage. On your more packed days maybe light calisthenics or 30 minutes of walking will be your workout. Maybe you save your heavy squat day for your off day? If your off day is Sunday, I can’t think of a better way to start a week!
I invite you to try this for a bit and see how it affects your gym attendance. Sometimes the simplest and seemingly silly tasks can be very effective coping strategies!