Starting a fitness program, or trying to achieve any goal for that matter, can be a bit overwhelming. You suddenly find yourself worrying about how you’re going to deal with certain things like time management or where you’re going to get the energy you need to do everything that’s on your list to become stronger and healthier.
But I’m here to say don’t worry about it! Not right now. Your fitness journey and self-care are a process that you should enjoy and get energy from, and not something that stresses you out, and I’m going to give you the secret to feeling more motivated and staying consistent without forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do.
The only thing you have to focus on every day is a 5-minute action, an action that will help you move closer to your goals and stay consistent. It doesn’t have to be exactly 5 minutes just focus on that one simple thing that seems quick and simple, but will help you stay on track.
Usually, thinking about doing something is a lot more draining than actually doing it, and that’s when you get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. But if you focus on one small task that you can do, and will make you feel better afterward, you’re already working on yourself and keeping yourself accountable.
So, instead of focusing on getting a difficult long gym session, focus on walking 5 minutes on the treadmill, or instead of thinking about an entire day of eating healthy, focus on getting some fruit and protein into your next meal. Once you start to work on these actions, you’re building momentum, and maybe, after 5 minutes, you’re even motivated to finish what you started.
Let me give you an example. I had a situation earlier last Summer where I had a lot of things going on, a lot of projects that I was working on and I was very tired at the end of my workday. I still needed to get my workout in. I didn’t necessarily want to, but while driving to the gym, I said to myself “Hey, you know what. I’m just going to go and I’m going to sit on the treadmill and I’m going to walk on it for about 5 minutes and if after that 5 minutes, I don’t want to do anything else, that’s ok. I’m going to go home, but at least I know I committed to myself getting in there and at least getting those 5 minutes”.
And what do you think that did for me mentally? Once I got to the gym and did my 5-minute warm-up on the treadmill I found myself going through a nice workout. And even though I didn’t reach any personal records or lift the same amount of weight I usually do, I felt so much better both physically and mentally once I finished the workout.
Now, even if you end up doing only the five minute warm-up, this still helps you get closer to your goals in the long term. Not because those 5 minutes are going to make you physically stronger, but because they help you reinforce the habit and work on consistency and staying true to yourself and your intentions. Therefore, you’ll end up seeing more results and feeling better and feeling better over time.
There are a lot of options for you if you want to start taking 5-minute actions today. Maybe get away from your desk and stretch, or go on a short walk around your neighborhood. You could even download an app like Calm and Headspace. Find the option that best works for you and let me know how it goes!
It’s important to remember that we don’t have to be motivated to do anything in life. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Are you motivated to go to work everyday? Probably not. But you go anyway, right? When you commit to taking that 5-minute action today, you build up your self-efficacy. That 5-minute action becomes 10-minutes, then 20-minutes, and so on.
You don’t have to have that “black and white” or “all or nothing” mentality, in fact, that might hurt your intentions in the long term. Instead, find that balance that will help you stay consistent and work on your goals one day at a time.