Time is our most valuable resource so if you can do something faster why wouldn't you? If you can get back to whatever it is you love then what's getting in your way?
It turns out, quite a lot. The problem with doing physio exercises is they don't really tap into a 'habit loop' in the same way as eating chocolates or watching Netflix. Our favorite habits flood our nervous systems with dopamine (reward hormone) and cause a subconscious desire for more. Hormones are what drives us and turns the input to action. The 'habit loop' will trigger another feedback loop which will generate further thought patterns and reward based actions.
Now, luckily there are a few really easy things you can do to turn your physio exercises into a habit. Habit loops stem from motivation (a craving) and then creating action (routine). You just need to create a reward.
The best part is, it's so easy. If you use any or all of the ideas from today you can get an extra week or month of doing whatever it is you love.
1. CREATE MOTIVATION (CRAVING) Motivation stems from desire. So create meaningful goals. Why are you really here? These are your end goals, for example: I want to be able to play soccer with my kids or I want to compete in an Iron man. Then, make a SMART that relates to this - these are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and have a time-frame to get you to your end goal. For example, run for 30 minutes in 2 weeks. Don't get caught up in smart goals as they won't create a craving. Keep your end goals in sight. Think about how you'll feel when you're running on wet grass with your son, drenched in sweat crossing the finish line of a race or standing at the top of a mountain with the wind in your hair.
2. CREATE A CUE What is it that you love doing most in your day. Is it having your cup of coffee in the morning? Having a cup of tea with a friend after work? Playing video games in the evening? Having a cold beer when you get home? This is one of your hardwired 'reward loops' so we're going to tap into it. All you need to do is do a small action BEFORE you do what you love. For example, lay out your yoga mat. The hardest part about doing exercises isn't actually doing the exercises but getting started. So it's the smallest of actions that can make the biggest changes over time. Whenever you're done (even if it's only for 30 seconds) enjoy the reward.
3. CREATE TRIGGERS Leave a visual reminder. With whatever it is you're doing from the previous point, leave a reminder to jog your memory. For example, leave your yoga mat near whatever it was we talked about in the first point. The visual cue of your mat next to the TV/fridge/coffee machine will be your best reminder to take action. You don't need to do this forever, just until it becomes habitual.
4. CREATE ROUTINE After a while of doing the points above, start to put on music. It will take 2 seconds. Here's where it gets interesting because if you always start with the same song/artist then in time, this song/artist will make you crave exercise and before you know it, it's part of your routine. Cool huh? Remember, once your done – enjoy the reward.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
There are two kinds of rewards in life, external (getting a pat on the back) and internal (giving yourself a pat on the back). So, why not do both. Keep yourself accountable by working towards your goals with someone – this could be a friend, personal trainer, physio, Pilates instructor. You can also give yourself a pat on the back by doing something nice whenever you reach one of your smaller goals - go out for dinner or get some new runners. You deserve it.
The best part about all of this is that after a few weeks of doing this, endorphins (hormones) start to get released which creates it's own reward loop so you'll start to crave exercise! Who would've thought huh?
This might seem a bit daunting but you'll probably find most of the work has already been done. All you need to do is roll out your mat and smell the roses. Learn more about goal setting and treatment planning here.