Sport is a gift for health: it reduces the risk of heart disease and improves mood, among other benefits. But many times we find pretexts to relegate it. We review the most frequent and offer tips to not abandon the goal.
"In the last 20 years, I've missed three workouts and on all three occasions I was too sick to move," notes the personal trainer and health coach
Robert S. Herbst. "There is no excuse for not playing sports," he says. Of course, we do not all have the same willpower of Herbst who, among other things, has been world champion of weight lifting 19 times and overcame the scoliosis that has dogged him since childhood. But we can try to imitate it.
To begin with, it's important to know that
you are not alone . The most popular goal that people propose is related to exercise:
A study published last year shows that about 50 million Americans had a new year goal to improve their fitness (the other great promise we usually make ourselves at the end of the year is losing weight). Nevertheless,
less than 10% manage to carry this purpose forward after a few months.
First step: be realistic
"The main reason why people do not keep their resolutions is that they think too many, or that they are too hard to reach ", He says
Mark Griffiths, professor at the University of Nottingham (Great Britain) and expert in addictions. Griffiths refers to the call
'false hope syndrome' which is nothing more than
deceiving oneself in regard to the speed or ease of changing a behavior.
Most of the time it is not necessary -or not very realistic- to pretend to complete a marathon. It is enough with
incorporate exercise into daily life something very effective. Numerous
Studies prove that increasing the time you move each day by walking the dog or going up the stairs instead of using the elevator reduces the risk of
cardiovascular diseases. In fact, people who live in the city and have to move around walking, cycling or public transport are in better shape than those who live in the suburbs and drive to work.
Second step: visualize your goal
In some cases it may be very appropriate
set a goal that serves as a reminder of what we want to achieve. This is the recommendation of
Nathan DeMetz, personal trainer and health coach. The reminder must be both literal and figurative.
In the first case, a photograph serves. For example, if someone aims to participate in a career, you can post pictures or advertise the sports event in a very visible place. Interior visualization is even more important, says DeMetz. "The person needs to imagine what he needs to do to achieve the goal, how he will feel when he reaches it and use these things as a reminder."
The main difficulty is making exercise part of your routine. Making sport a social and fun activity is ideal (but not always possible). Herbst, for his part, recommends writing motivating phrases and placing them in visible places, like the mirror in the bathroom.
Another trick is
establish an irrevocable commitment to oneself and think that nothing is more important than your health and that exercise should be a priority. "If you have a big project at work, go to the gym later. If you have a meeting late, go to the gym early in the morning. You can always find time, "says the coach.
Third step: avoid excuses
Unless you're a Martian, you'll have used the excuses down here a million times. It is not a problem, as long as we are aware of the power of that little voice to drag us and dodge what really suits us. It is well known to Leo Babauta, the author of
ZenHabits who, with six children in tow, manages to carry out their projects. This is a Babauta-inspired version of the main excuses we put to sabotage our best intentions:
- I'm not capable. When something costs, it is easy to be tempted to think that we can not do it. We stop believing in ourselves. One way to overcome is to remember the example of other people with characteristics similar to ours that did. The world is full of people who performed great feats: they started running marathons at 60, climbing mountains with one leg or even climbing in a wheelchair.
- Life is to enjoy it. Under this pretext all kinds of unhealthy behaviors are justified. "Enjoy life, do not go to the gym / eat that giant hamburger / that piece of cake." But it turns out that you can enjoy much more of life without eating or drinking unhealthy products, or incurring other harmful behaviors-each has its favorites-that provide satisfaction for a few moments and then contribute to our discomfort.
- I can do it later. Right, but will you feel differently later? Why are you going to be different later? In fact, it is possible that if you allow yourself to slide down the "later" slope, you are feeding the habit of procrastinating.
- Once does not hurt. Tempting. However, people who are really committed, such as Herbst, explain that they do not leave their training for a single day because they run the risk of turning into two, or three, or four. One time leads to another time only
- It does not provoke me. And point, we could add, in an extension of the previous "one time". But we follow this maxim and let ourselves be guided by our fluctuating and capricious moods; we may never build anything of value.
- I'm tired. There is a moment to rest, and it is necessary to stop and recover. It is important, however, to differentiate the fatigue of the body (that does not deceive) with the "I do not want" or with all the string of previous excuses.
- The result is not so important. It is easy to see how this excuse creeps into many aspects of life and leads many to start one thing after another without decanting, really, by none. The result may not be as important, but the process is, and also learn to continue with what you have proposed even when you do not feel comfortable / do not feel like / you are tired.
- I need my _______ (fill in the blank). If between your new habit of going out to run and you stand in the way of old sports shoes, for example, be aware that the little voice expert in stacking pretexts is talking, the one that encourages you to wait for new shoes.
- I'm scared. And who does not? The wise advice of Alice in Wonderland ("think of six impossible things before breakfast") helps us become more courageous and relativize the challenges that overwhelm us, which is what it is about .