Fighting Against Workout Avoidance (Steps to Successful Behavior Change)

 

Gaining and maintaining health and wellness is not the easy choice. Nor is it the passive choice. Health is an active and intentional process that takes awareness and work. If we blissfully go through life without intentionally being aware of and working toward health, we will not have a very high level of wellness. As a counselor, I often have to fight with clients to get this through their head. Let’s face it- most of the time we want the easy and convenient route, but that’s not usually the healthiest route.

I don’t like working out. If I am a professional in anything, it may be in coming up with excuses to avoid working outJ Much to my chagrin, my research in holistic health and wellness has led me to believe wholeheartedly that to be a healthy person, I must include physical health. So, while I may not enjoy exercise, I know that if I want to be healthy, I need to choose to engage in it.

So what’s a girl to do? While I dislike exercise, I choose to do it to be healthy. Here are some of the steps I’ve taken to try to ensure the greatest level of success in this area of wellness:

1. Track the Reasons You Don’t Work Out: Know your enemy. In my case, the enemy is my excuses. So, before I created my workout plan, I tracked my behavior (and lack of it) for about a week. Once I knew what my excuses were, I created statements to fight back at these. I also tried to find patterns that made it more difficult to work out, and then avoided these.

2. Set behavioral goals: Set SMART goals for yourself. You can go here (http://counselormusings.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-write-goals-for-successful.html) to see my post on how to write goals for successful behavior change. Don’t write your goals like most people write New Year’s Resolutions (i.e. “I’m going to work out more”). This most likely won’t lead to success.

3. Develop a Support System For Your Resolution or Behavior Change: Filling out a contract may be helpful to establish your commitment. Every day you will see your goals and commitments to yourself, with your name signed to it. Get a few witnesses to sign it as well. Even better- try to find someone else who will work on the behavior change with you. This will make it much more fun! I found a walking buddy, and we’ve walked up to 25 miles a week before. It’s fun, we laugh, and it hardly feels like I’m working out!

4. Program for Success and Maintenance: It’s crucial when changing a behavior that you think positively and expect success. If you believe that you will fail, then you will fail. Engage in positive self-talk! Set backs will happen, but pick yourself back up and continue forward.

Remember the following quote: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.” Focus on the next step ahead of you. When the journey seems long and tiring, remember that it’s just a series of small steps that you can accomplish! Don’t expect perfection, because no matter how hard you fight for it, you can’t achieve it! Strive for excellence, because that is attainable. Good luck!

Here’s my Bio:

Hey I’m Karolina (aka Counselor Musings). I have my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Addictions Counseling, and I’m currently a Counselor on a college campus. My thesis in my graduate program was on Wellness & Behavior change, and how this interacts with levels of depression and resiliency. Favorite topics to discuss are healthy boundaries, wellness, anxiety, depression, negative thinking/self-talk, perfectionism, and self-esteem. Other interests include traveling (you can see pictures on my blog from my January trip to Ecuador), public speaking, spending time with friends, coffee, dance, and working on my own levels of health and wellness.

I blog over at http://counselormusings.blogspot.com where I discuss the topics I see many of my clients struggle with, give practical advice you can easily implement into your life, share the occasional recipe, and discuss my own wellness journey! Stop by and say hi!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great guest post Karolina! I definitely got into a pattern of workout avoidance recently. I noticed I had all of my momentum until I started the drive home from work and I just got tired and lazy. One day I decided to write “run” on the side of my hand so it would stare me down and not let me get out of my workout. It even helped during my run to pick me up and make me work harder. Now I regularly write positive things on my hand/arm/wrist like “run”, “fly”, “strong”, etc.

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