Are you wondering whether surviving the first month without throwing in the towel is even possible? You always start with the best of intentions but really getting going can be difficult, especially when it’s been a while since you’ve been physically active. It can most certainly be a daunting experience, particularly if you have memories of previous efforts to get fit zipping around in the back of your mind.
Most of us have that history. Where we’ve gotta off to a good start only to have a setback derail our attempts and we find ourselves firmly off the wagon. So, how can you get through that first month without throwing in the towel?
Here are my top tips:
- Start slowly
- Be realistic with the time you can commit
- Try not to overdo it in the first couple of weeks, even if you’re feeling great
- It’s okay if you need to dial things back a bit or things don’t go quite as expected
- Don’t beat yourself up
Let’s look at these a little more closely.
Survival Tip #1: Start Slowly
It’s super important in starting off that you start at a level that you are comfortable with. This journey is entirely about you. It’s not about what anyone else can do or what anyone else tells you to do. Try not to look at other people. You do what feels right for you.
You can start with something fairly small if that’s where you’re at right now. It might be a few laps of the backyard a few times a week. It might be a short weights circuit, it might be a more formal group exercise class or a swim in the pool. Pick what feels right for you and your current fitness level.
Survival Tip #2: Realistic Time Commitment
A really common downfall for people is overcommitting their time to exercise thinking they are going to be able to commit to say one hour every day. Maybe you will be able to but take the time to look at your schedule and see what you feel is achievable and realistic. If you overcommit, you are essentially setting yourself up to fail.
Set aside a realistic and sustainable amount of time for your exercise to begin with. An amount you know you will be able to make happen. You can always build on this over time but set yourself up for a big tick at the end of the week.
Survival Tip #3: Don’t Go Overboard
I see beginners (of all shapes and sizes) going really hard at the start of their journey. They set a big goal, decide they are going to start on Monday and go nuts in the first week or so, exercising in every spare minute they have. It all adds up, right?
It absolutely does all add up but when you are brand new to exercise it’s easy to go a bit too hard and find yourself both overwhelmed and exhausted. You might feel great to begin with but it can quickly go in the other direction so make sure you really are listening to what your body is telling you. Take the rest you need when you need it and come back stronger the next day.
Survival Tip #4: It’s Okay to Reassess
If you made a commitment to a particular training schedule and you realise you have gone a bit overboard or things just aren’t panning out, it’s okay to reassess and change your approach. You might have started with something you find you don’t enjoy as much as you thought you would or you might have underestimated the amount of work required to follow the program.
Whatever it is, it’s okay. You don’t have to throw in the towel and give up on the idea of improving your fitness. You might just need to dial things back a little bit or try something different. It’s all about finding the path that works for you right now.
Survival Tip #5: Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If something has gone wrong and really messed up all your good intentions, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not going to serve any useful purpose at all. You can’t go back in time to change what happened. It will only serve to upset you and leave you wanting to throw in the towel.
Instead, focus on what you can do now. Get up the next day and be the healthiest you that you can be on that day. Embrace progress over perfection. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s a long term lifestyle change we’re working toward here. There will be plenty of ups and downs along the way. Just keep taking little, positive steps in the right direction. Pretty sure perfect doesn’t exist anyway!
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