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7 Tips To Ditch Procrastination For A Healthier You

procrastinating from exercise

Keen to get into a new health and fitness routine but never quite get around to it? Although our brains have an incredible ability to learn and form new habits, we need repetition of an action to make it stick which will never happen if we can't take that first step.

Here are 10 tips to help you combat procrastination and cultivate healthier habits.

1. Start small

A lot of the time, procrastination comes from the task ahead seeming too big, tiring or difficult. Pick something super small to begin with. It might be go for a 5 minute walk, or to eat more veges or protein than you did yesterday.

It doesn't matter if the action doesn't seem as big as it 'should' to get results. This is about getting the ball rolling when it comes to being consistent by picking something super simple to kickstart the process, then you're primed to take on bigger tasks. Keep doing that on repeat and before you know it, you'll have new habits in place.

2. Plan ahead

Leaving things to chance almost never goes well. It may be fine in the beginning when you first start out, but once that initial jolt of motivation wears off - because it usually does - it can be a lot more difficult to keep things going. This is why short term health and programmes often get great results, but long term the habits can be harder to stick to (and we don't want our new sparkly health habits to unravel!). When you have a clear idea of what you intend to do, you're more likely to do it.

Most people have a schedule of some kind and a fairly standard list of recipes/preferred restaurants and takeout. Look at your week and plan ahead as best you can. A workout schedule, a meal plan... Even if it doesn't work out exactly as you intended, if you do the majority of a well thought out plan it will likely be enough to still get results.

3. Get straight into things

Don't delay! If you leave it until later today/tomorrow/this month/this year, it's so easy for that timeline to get extended. Respond to your alarm the first time without hitting snooze, don't sit down when you get home from work, just aim to get out the door, get changed straight into your training gear, start cooking dinner sooner so it doesn't get too late and you end up resorting to takeaways... Get into the habit of making quick decisions/choices and it will continue to serve you well.

4. Stay focused

If you can get started easily enough but seem to lose motivation part way through, consider whether you're getting distracted. Surrounded by piles of washing during a home workout? Phone notifications going off during training? Television distracting you from eating mindfully? Identify what's distracting you and eliminate it or figure out how to handle it better moving forwards.

5. Celebrate your wins

Procrastination is less likely if you feel you're getting somewhere with your goals. Celebrate milestones and mini-milestones along the way in recognition of your progress. The big end goal is awesome to aim for, but marking these smaller wins will keep you motivated along the journey that gets you there.

6. Get accountable

Accountability is an individual thing; some of us need someone right there to keep us going, while others could be happy being self-accountable and just marking off a checksheet on the fridge. Figure out what you respond to best that will help keep you on track. A trainer? Nutrition coach? Group coaching? Social media group? A friend? Work colleague? Family member? Diary/planner? There are many options, and people who get accountable are more likely to reach their goals so it's well worth your while to do it.

7. Observe your procrastination

This one's a bit more advanced but it will set you up for the long term - it's an exercise in self-awareness! If you're a chronic procrastinator, next time you find yourself doing it, take a moment to observe what's going on at the time. Are you feeling tired? Stressed? Overwhelmed? It rarely happens just from being lazy (though sometimes society has us believing this!). Once you identify your emotions and what's really going on, think about ways you can prevent it happening again next time and keep these ideas ready.

That's plenty of tips to get you started. Give them a go and see how you get on.

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