January 2022, you promised yourself that this was your year to work out consistently. Everything seemed great, you had a routine, you were going to the gym, and eating healthy. All of a sudden, it’s late February and you find yourself completely off the bandwagon and feeling guilty.
This phenomenon of “new year, new me,” then feeling extreme guilt for not sticking to it, is all too common. But you should not feel upset at yourself or feel like you failed. Setting expectations to completely “change yourself” or create new habits is difficult, and there’s no perfect way to go about it. But if you are adamant about beginning to work out and/or working out more, here are some tips that may help you.
Tip #1: Find something you love to do.
This may seem annoyingly obvious, but time and time again, I see my peers dreading doing their activity of choice. Working out shouldn’t be an activity you hate or dread doing. In fact, it should be one of the best parts of your day. If lifting weights, or running a mile sounds like the worst thing ever, then don’t do it. Finding an activity that you love may take time but is worth it in the end. Staying active can look like going for a walk around campus while listening to music, to something so seemingly juvenile such as playing Just Dance.
Tip #2: Using a Program
Not knowing how to effectively use weights or cardio to get a good workout, or just not being able to think of a plan can easily deter you from wanting to take the time to be active. That’s why workout programs and videos can be super helpful. One example is Peloton. Peloton is notoriously known for its exercise bike programs, but it has a lot to offer for students who may have little, to no equipment. From walking programs and yoga to bodyweight strength training, the Peloton app is a huge resource for anyone at any level of experience with fitness. The downside of these programs, such as Peloton, is that they usually do charge a subscription fee.
Tip #3: Drop the “all or nothing” mindset
The “all or nothing mindset” surrounding working out can discourage one from wanting to continue to be active and cause immense guilt. It can be easy to fall prey to the idea that only the intense workouts often shown on social media are effective, or the mindset that you have to workout X amount of days or “it’s not worth it”. These ideas are ineffective and frankly untrue. If you go a few days or weeks where you’re less active, it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t have to stop your fitness journey. I’ve seen so many of my friends get discouraged after not consistently being active, and giving up. But there’s no right way of approaching fitness. You don’t have to go to the gym 5 days a week just because a fitness influencer on TikTok does. Do what you can and give yourself grace if you feel like you aren’t being as active as you want to be.
Being active looks different for everyone, and there’s no perfect way to go about it. The guilt associated with not being “active enough” can feel overwhelming. But navigating working out by centering yourself and your needs can help you combat this. You may even find yourself starting to fall in love with being active and the way it makes you feel.