I think we all can recognize: it can be tough to get started creating a new fitness habit!
In fact, creating any new habit can be challenging, and the more it differs from your typical habits, the harder is likely to be to implement.
If you’re used to spending every morning hitting snooze, and you decide you’re going to set the alarm for an hour earlier and run five miles every weekday? Whew. That’s asking a lot, right?
But what if instead, you set a goal of getting up 30 minutes earlier just two or three times during the week, and then added another workout on the weekend? Infinitely more possible.
Simple tips and tricks can increase the likelihood you will succeed in setting a meaningful new habit by leaps and bounds. And when you succeed, especially in doing something that challenges you, not only will your body feel so much better, but your confidence will soar!
So check out our best practices below!
First: have a defined goal.
Simply working out is great, of course! But when you start your journey with a specific, attainable, realistic, but challenging goal? It makes every workout more meaningful!
I love three-month goals! Three months is enough time that you can make truly remarkable gains in your fitness. On the flip side, it’s a short enough time that, if you decide that maybe you’re not loving your current program, you know that it will soon be done and you can move on to the next challenge.
When you have a defined goal that excites you, and a training plan (tip #2), you can see that every workout is a step closer to attaining your goal. This makes every workout more meaningful, rather than simply, “I’m going to get on the elliptical for 20 minutes, three times a week,” or even “I’m going to run for 20 minutes, three times a week.”
Instead, you can see that, if you do this workout, it will make you stronger and move you closer to being able to run that race, or finish that distance, or achieve that time goal!
In three months, you could set goals like the following:
- Run your first 5K, even if you’re not doing any running, or even any exercise, at all.
- Run a faster 5K if you’ve been running some or have run many 5K’s but want to get faster.
- Run your first half marathon, if you’ve got some form of fitness or running base.
- Run a faster half marathon, if you’ve got a decent running base built up.
- And many, many more, but you get the idea!
Next: have a plan.
If you want to build a house, you have an architect draw up a plan, right?
Your running is no different! If you want to achieve your goal, and you want to set a fitness habit that you’ll be proud of, it starts with knowing how to go from point A to point B, or where you are now, to where you want to be in three months.
When it comes to finding a running training plan, there are so many great resources out there!
You can easily google “Beginner 5K Training Plan,” or “Couch to 5K Training Plan.” You’ll find tons of options, and can choose the one that works for your schedule. If you know you can run three times per week, look for a plan that fits your specific needs.
You can draw up your own plan, of course! If you choose this option, I would definitely recommend you spend some time doing the above option, simply so you have a general understanding of what is a reasonable progression per week.
Finally, there’s the option of working with a trained coach who can create a plan that is customized to your needs! For our Mom’s Running Club moms, I take care to be sure that each runner has the plan that is totally appropriate to her goals, her current fitness, and the demands on her schedule!
I’d love to work with you, for SURE, but there are also tons of wonderful running coaches out there. One tip is simply to check out their certifications. RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) is a wonderful certifying body and a great resource!
Make your goal, and your training plan, extremely attainable.
Yes, you should aim high! If you want to run a marathon, you absolutely should!
However, to increase the likelihood that you will find success this week, and next week, and through to the end of your three-month goal, start with what is extremely realistic for you, right now. If you’re only running a couple miles a couple times a week, a marathon is more than a little bit of a stretch for a three-month goal.
So, the reason this step is so important is that you want to experience success, right out of the gate, and the more realistic the goal and the training plan, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to follow through with it.
When it comes to building a new habit, the goal is to succeed, right? So start small, find success, and gain confidence in your ability to do what you say and say what you do!
You can always go bigger down the road, but you can’t go bigger until you nail the habit, so start with realistic and attainable.
And remember: every step forward is a positive one! Even shorter workouts are still moving you closer to the fitness and lifestyle you crave and deserve!
Plan, plan, and then double check the plan.
It’s been said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
As a mom, life takes over soooo quickly, and suddenly your time disappears!
That’s why you absolutely must plan ahead for your workouts!
You likely look at your schedule for the upcoming week in order to plan for carpool, work, and kids’ activities, right?
Now you’re going to look at your schedule and block off your workout times.
A few tips, from our experience:
- Each week before the week starts, check out your week and determine when you’ll run. Where are your windows of time that you can block off for you and your goals?
- It’s often wise to check the weather forecast! If you want to run on Tuesday afternoon and they’re calling for thunderstorms, maybe move that run to Tuesday morning or Monday afternoon.
- Be sure your gear is ready to go. You’ve checked out the weather, so you know if you’ll need a tank top and shorts, or leggings and gloves. Dig out whatever gear you need, and lay it out ahead of time!
- Finally, consider early morning if at all possible. The only time that is guaranteed is the time before your family is up and moving! Once the day gets going, all bets are off! Can you still work out later? For sure! But the only (almost) guarantee is that early morning window.
And: keep that time sacred.
You deserve it, and you’ve planned for it. Do whatever you can to not let small things derail you from your goal. For moms, there will certainly always be things that are out of our control, but you honor yourself when you keep your commitment to yourself.
And finally, to create a habit you’ll love: have an accountability and support system.
I talked about the benefits of an accountability group in this post, and it’s never more tru than when you are trying to get up and moving and create a new habit!
Having someone there who is waiting to hear “I just did my workout” makes you exponentially more likely to do your workout!
This is why group exercise works, it’s why group runs and meeting up with friends to run works, and it’s why there are so many amazing groups on Facebook!
Just one person can make a huge difference!
Moms especially are great at accountability and support, because we are such natural caregivers.
I know that in Mom’s Running Club, we truly care if you do your workout. If you say “Please hold me accountable this week,” you can be sure we are going to check in with you!
A great accountability partner or group wants you to succeed, as much as they want to succeed themselves!
This support can look like any of the following:
- One friend, and you text one another after your workouts.
- One friend, and you meet up and run together.
- A small group of friends, and you meet up and run together or text one another.
- An online group like Mom’s Running Club, where we connect daily on Facebook and share our workouts, as well as our nutrition goals and challenges.
- A local running club, where they typically hold group runs, often weekly, and local runners get together and run. (RRCA is another great resource for finding local running clubs!)
And one important note about group runs… lots of running clubs have group runs each week, and it’s important that you know that you don’t have to be at any particular level or speed to attend! For these group runs, you meet and start at the same time, but different people branch off and run in small groups or on their own, based on pace and distance goals!
And if all of this has you motivated to get up and running yourself, you can always check out our Busy Mom’s Guide to Becoming a Runner!
It has everything you need and all your questions answered!
If you still have questions about how to get moving, or would like to learn more about Mom’s Running Club or personal coaching, please don’t hesitate to email me here! I would love to connect with you and hear about you and your goals!