5 Secrets to Doing What You Dread: How I Started (and Now Love) Working Out

Working out has always eluded me.

Despite having significant amounts of willpower in most areas of life, I have always struggled to work out regularly. I just don’t enjoy the process of getting in shape. Running for the sake of running doesn’t appeal to me. Exhausting my muscles is not that appealing.

But, back in December, I made a commitment to myself. By June 30, 2015, I would lose 20 lbs.

I failed. In fact, I gained six pounds.

But, not for lack of trying. Despite missing my goal, I have finally cracked the nut. I have been working out regularly – three times per week – for the past four months and I have lost three belt sizes. I’m pretty sure those six pounds are all muscle and I have met my ultimate objective of being healthier.

Here’s what I did to finally get over the workout hump and how I started working out regularly and even, surprisingly, enjoy it.

How I Started Working Out - David DeWolf

I got clear on my motivation.

Frankly, I had to soul search. I’m not all that concerned what I look like and I’m not sure that I ever believed that I’d really “feel better” if I worked out. Exercise was something I “should” do, but not something I had any “reason” to do.

Until I realized that my own lack of fitness was affecting my wife and kids. I realized that my son didn’t work as hard as I wanted him to. Teresa, who hasn’t been gifted with the same strong will that I have, struggled to stay committed to her own workout routine despite genuinely wanting to be in shape.

My motivation for working out is that it helps Teresa become the best version of herself and teaches my kids about working hard and being responsible with what you’ve been given.

It’s worked. Teresa started working out with me three months in. Even two of my kids are now working out.

I found accountability.

I shared all of my goals, not just my workout goal, with my mastermind group. When I failed to get out of the gate like I hoped with exercise, I was honest with my friends and sought their advice. What did they do to stay committed to exercise?

All of the advice was helpful, but the best piece of advice was to hire a personal trainer. Their theory was that paying the fees and having someone waiting for me to show up would provide additional – in the moment – accountability beyond what they could provide.

They were spot on. I forced myself to find a trainer within four days. Having a personal trainer waiting for me at 7 AM was just what I needed to begin developing a routine.

I developed a routine.

It’s that routine that has kept me going. Having a regularly scheduled time at which I work out is key. It’s blocked off and on my calendar. It’s first thing in the morning. And it happens consistently the same days of the week. Having this routine has helped develop a habit.

In fact, it develops such a habit that during a recent trip to Colorado I naturally woke up early and felt my body craving exercise. Even without the initial intent, my trainer, or any other motivation, I got up and had one of the best workouts of my life.

I got expert advice.

The unexpected result of hiring a trainer was how much more effective my workouts were. I didn’t realize until after I started that one of the reasons that I didn’t enjoy working out was that I had no idea what I was doing. My trainer optimized my recovery time, taught me the proper way to build muscle and get rid of fat, and helped me to set reasonable expectations.

It’s amazing how much more enjoyable (or, in this case, less painful) something can be if you know what you’re doing. Now, even when I’m traveling and workout by myself, I feel like I’m not just going through the motions, but, actually making progress and doing the right things.

I refined my goal.

It would have been easy to beat myself up for not meeting my goal. That would have been the end of my routine. “This isn’t working.” Instead, I decided to pivot and extend my goal to still be aligned with my overall motivation

The goal I had set was reasonable and educated, but I didn’t know nearly enough to set the right one. Ultimately, I was successful in accomplishing what I had started out to do. I just picked the wrong measure. So, I flexed. I adjusted to reality.

How about you?

What is it that you’ve been trying to accomplish but haven’t been getting around to? Give these five tips a try and see if you can get over the hump, too. And, if you’re looking for a process to help you in your goal setting, Michael Hyatt’s program “5 Days to Your Best Day Ever” is something you should start considering for next year.


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