Crush Procrastination - 7 Strategies to Keep up in the Gym

Overcome Procrastination

Push through Tough Times

fitFLEX Articles - Learn, Share and Discover

You can plan to do drop sets until you drop or to superset until they paint a red and gold S on your chest. Hell, you can broil your chicken breast and down the CELL-Tech twice a day, but one component of your workout program you absolutely, positively need if you're going to achieve your goals is dedication to scheduled workouts - you've got to get your ass to the gym.

Call me a master of the obvious, but the ability to take a goal and put it into action is what separates the would-bes, the could-bes and the wannabes from the real-deal, bigger-than-a-house, shredded monsters who maximize their genetic potential. Face facts. We can all do more, train harder and have more self-discipline. Just as you would when you plan your workouts, you need to plan what you will do for those times when your attitude dips. Read on and you'll learn what is required to beat procrastination.

Strategy 1 - Procrastination - Know What You're Up Against

You may wonder why you're always finding excuses to take a day off from weight training or some other activity or task. The voice inside us that makes us see the glass half empty or causes us to find fault is at the core of our humanity. We have a built-in caution light that slows us down and keeps us at the status quo and away from danger.

Whenever you try to improve yourself, you can bank on hearing a nagging voice telling you to get some couch time, that your goal is stupid, or that you'll never reach it anyway. The same voice will tell you the task will be easier tomorrow, or that you're too tired or sore to possibly do anything today.

Don't waste a lot of time talking back to this negative voice. It's present regardless of what you do. Accept the fact that the voice is part of human nature and then set ready to kick that voice's ass.

Strategy 2 - Creating a Laserlike Focus

Don't get scared by the heading. This section isn't about to turn into a late-night self-improvement infomercial. One of the solid principles of self-improvement is having a crystal-clear vision of what you want to achieve. Before you head out on your trip to bodybuilding excellence, phone ahead and get some directions. Have you any idea what your actual destination is? If you have goals of being bigger or getting in better shape, they alone are not good enough. To fight off the negative voice that keeps chatting with you, you must have solid reasoning behind your counterarguments. When your goals are loosely defined, taking a day off and doing multiple sets with the remote while on the couch don't sound like such bad ideas.

Envision exactly what you want to achieve. Pick photos right out of this magazine to help you shape your goals. Establish the measurements you want, the bodyfat level you desire, or your goals for each bodypart. Write all those targets down. When you don't know where you're going, there's a very good chance you'll wind up someplace else. Make sure you know what you want.

Strategy 3 - Committing to Your Future

You may find the negative voice speaking to you when you start to write down your goals. It will tell you the goals are goofy and a waste of time. Putting your goals on paper asks a commitment from you, and that pledge does battle with our lazy human tendencies. Without commitment, no reason to stay off the couch exists.

Talk to yourself and ask if your goals are really ones you want to pursue. When you say yes to yourself you'll feel a sensation go off in your gut that is part excitement and part anxiety. The sensation is what is going to drive you. Keep the reasons why you're pursuing your goals fresh in your consciousness. The reminder of rewards is what keeps the hard work making sense.

Strategy 4 - Eat an Elephant - One Bite at a Time

Now that you have your goals in place and you created an exact image of what you want to accomplish, the factor most likely to keep you away from the gym is discouragement. You recognize you have all this work to do and that it's going to take so long. Some guys try to create the perfect physique in one week and get injured or burned out before they even get started. Other guys quit when their biceps don't get to 22 inches in 48 hours.

The hard reality to grasp for intense people is, reaching a goal takes time. Look at your goal as similar to eating an elephant. No matter how bad your case of the munchies is, you would be hard-pressed to consume even an anorexic elephant overnight. The alternative is to eat the beast one bite at a time. You should approach your training the same way.

Eat your own elephant by breaking down a goal into the smallest units possible. Make five-year goals, one-year goals, six-month goals and one-month goals, all the way down to goals for every single workout. With this manner of goal setting you can be successful every day. If you set your goal on winning Mr. Universe in 10 years, you're going to run into trouble sustaining your passion. Keep the passion alive by making every day a journey toward accomplishing a subgoal.

Strategy 5 - Leading Your Own Horse to Water

We like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures in the pursuit of advanced goal attainment. The truth is that sometimes you're going to have to find a way to trick your lazy ass. You can do so by creating a leading task. A leading task is goal oriented in a small way all by itself, but its main function is to guide your momentum in the direction of more significant tasks.

Packing your gym bag the night before a morning workout, telling yourself that you'll work out for 15 minutes and that you can quit if you don't feel like training more, or getting dressed in your workout gear - all these can be leading tasks. The idea behind a leading task is to do a task that leads you to the behavior you're putting off. Once you get in motion, momentum will often carry you to where you want to go without much effort. In fact we use leading tasks all the time to get us going; unfortunately, we also use them to blow workouts off. Watching mindless TV instead of getting ready, not getting out of bed, and talking on the phone are also leading tasks - tasks leading to failure.

Keep in mind you don't have to feel like doing the task to actually do it. Don't wait for inspiration. Get your ass going, and eventually the motivation will find you.

Strategy 6> - Buddy Up

Many reasons for getting a training partner exist. In addition to companionship and some friendly competition, partnering up brings commitment with it. You may like to tap the snooze button on your alarm clock until calluses form on your fingertips, but if doing so means stiffing a buddy at the gym, you're more likely to get your sorry ass out from under the comforter. Sure, you'll grumble all the way to the gym but you will get there - and that's half the battle. You're also less likely to give up, take a day off from or quit training if you know you'll have to duck another human being to get away with self-defeating behaviors.

Pick a winner when selecting a training partner. If you pick a weak willed buddy, don't con yourself into blaming him for your procrastination. If you already have a training partner, take a close look at your relationship. Don't be afraid to dump a training partner who brings you down. Wherever possible look for someone with at least as much drive as you.

Strategy 7 - Cashing In - How to Throw Yourself a Bone

A good walk in a dog park may be just what you need. When smart dog owners want their dogs to repeat a trick, the owners all do the same thing. The owner praises the dog, gives it a treat, or scratches its head lovingly. You should learn to provide yourself rewards.

I'm not telling you to start licking your own privates but I am telling you to give yourself positive reinforcement when you reach a goal. Find a way to compensate yourself for everyday mundane accomplishments. Watch TV only after you've completed a workout. Visit your honey once you've moved some weight. Eat dinner upon finishing your dreaded cardio.

Reward yourself for intermediate goals, too. Sometimes it's better to reward yourself for the activities that lead you to your overall goal, rather than the goal itself, because reaching a goal can be its own very powerful reinforcer. Reward yourself for hitting every scheduled workout in a week, for keeping to your dreaded cardio goals, or for doing up to 5 sets per bodypart.

Make sure your rewards don't run counter to your goals. Don't make pigging out a reward for reaching workout targets or you'll be taking one step forward and two steps back. Buy yourself an item you've been wanting, or plan a vacation - anything that you find rewarding.

When all is said and done, usually a lot more is said than done. The people at Nike have caught on to something with their slogan. Just remember you don't have to feel like doing something to do it. Just do it.

Related Articles