What are you telling yourself? Are you saying you’ve just had too much on this week?
Are you reminding yourself how good you’ve been so far this year, and that missing a few sessions doesn’t really matter all that much?
Have you just stopped remembering to exercise, or have things gotten in the way that you’ve had to deal with instead?
Well. Are you ready for this? It’s actually absolutely nothing to do with any of these justifications you’ve been telling yourself. Want to know how I know this?
Ask yourself these questions…
1: How much time did you spend on Facebook/watching TV/googling?
5 minutes a day? That’s 35 minutes a week.
15 minutes a day? That’s 105 minutes a week (1.7 hours).
30 mins a day? That’s 210 minutes a week (3.5 hours).
60 mins a day? That’s 420 minutes a week (7 hours).
If you are completely honest with yourself, do you still think you didn’t have time to exercise?
2: Did you feel that little pang of guilt when you decided not to exercise that day?
No matter how mild or fleeting the feeling, guilt is an emotion we experience when our actions do not meet with what we feel like we should be doing. Our “shoulds” are what we think we would do if we were the best versions of ourselves- with rock steady self discipline, motivation, and energy.
My guess is you had a plan, in order to reach a goal- lose weight, get fit, get healthy… Whatever your goal, in setting that goal you made a promise to yourself. In not following that plan, you know you aren’t being your best self, and there’s a not so comfortable feeling that comes with that.
3: Did you forget more than once?
Did you miss one workout, feel genuine shock that you’d forgotten, and then went right back into your routine the very next day? Or did one day pass, then another…and another? Before you knew it a week had passed and you hadn’t been back.
If you answered these questions honestly and realised it wasn’t actually a lack of time, that yes you felt guilty for not going, and yes you “forgot” more than once, you will be sensing that perhaps there is something else going here.
That something is that your solid habits around exercising haven’t formed yet. This means that it takes a conscious effort, you have to exert willpower, and you have to make the decision to exercise.
This is why so many of us go a few weeks where we are doing really well, and are feeling really motivated, and after this motivation starts to fade a little, it’s down to pure willpower to force ourselves to keep doing it. And this is really hard.
The good news is that if you are at this point, you are actually closer than you think to breaking through the barrier where exercising turns from being a conscious effort, to a regular habit that doesn’t require a decision, conscious thought, or willpower, it’s just part of your usual week and you just do it without thinking.
As a rule of thumb they say that to form a simple new habit (like drinking a glass of water when you wake up) takes an average of 21 days, and for harder habits (like exercising) is closer to 66 days, with some individual variation there- with some people this happened sooner, some later than this.