Whether you are trying to start exercising again after a long break from physical activity or learn a foreign language, it can be incredibly difficult to take that first step toward your goal. Many think that starting is the hardest part, but being consistent when the initial motivation wears off is even more of a challenge. Here is a great question from a neighbor who needs to get moving again for health reasons.
Hey Stew, how do you do it? I always see you doing something physical every morning. I would love to get my workouts done in the morning before work. Any suggestions on how to start and stick with it?
I am going to answer this question with a quote I read recently online. Benny Lewis wrote a book titled "Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World." Here's what Lewis says:
There are seven days in a week and "someday" is not one of them.
Personally, I got the book to see what he recommended, because I want to study Russian again. I took the language for four years in college, and with everything going on, I thought I could work to be more proficient than I am now.
However, this quote applies to everything you ever want to do. This is Goal Achievement 101: Take advantage of the present, forget the past and don't wait for tomorrow. Start now.
Though this quote is about a different skill than exercise, learning to do anything challenging requires getting started and staying consistent. Here's how this principle applies when you want to get moving again, lose weight and start feeling fit:
Forget about all the years you have neglected this skill (fitness or language), as that thought process does nothing but create more self-doubt.
Make today be Day 1, not "someday" or "one day." The importance of now is the only way to build new habits, create discipline and change your life for the better.
Waiting for your "ship to come in" is waiting for something that's not going to happen. Sometimes you must build that ship yourself and know that it is going to be a process, but you must start now. You can be proud of yourself a year from now if you start today.
If you're excited to really make this work for you, take the following steps:
Take a couple of minutes right now and set a time on your schedule to move a little more. This new appointment with yourself is important, because if something is not on the schedule, it does not exist.
Start off by walking, deep breathing and drinking water. Start today and do it for a month. You can do it for 10-15 minutes the first week, then start to add 5-10 minutes each week. If you must, break up the walking sessions throughout the day and try again during your lunch break or after work.
After a few weeks on consistent effort, you will start to see a difference in how you look and feel. Now add something new like calisthenics or dumbbells.
Learn about some of the rules of fitness over 40 and even past your 50s. Check it out and get moving. Adding more stretching and mobility work make it easy for you to move with less pain and lower the risk of reinjuring yourself.
Tactical Fitness Over 40 can help you create some life-changing workouts, but everything starts with building a basic foundation of walking, stretching, breathing and drinking more water.
Finding time should be the only difficult thing when you start training. Your movements should be easy. Do not start your training by doing the old workouts you did a decade or more ago when you were in shape. Treat yourself like a beginner, build good habits and enjoy feeling better physically and about yourself.
Add some basic cardio and stretching to rebuild and move with less pain: Starting Your Week with a Mobility Day.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to Learn More About Military Life?
Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to Military.com to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.