people announcing that you will start exercising at this specific time.
Afterwards be sure to tell them you actually started, just like you
planned to do. This is such an important time because most failures to
establish a habit result from never starting or only exercising a few
times and then letting it slide.
If you can attend carefully to being sure you exercise at the same
time every day for the first two or three weeks, you are well on your
way to creating a good, reliable habit. After a month or two of doing
exercises you like to do at the same time every day, the urge to carry
out the habit becomes stronger and stronger--that is, it is easier and
easier. Indeed, a need to exercise is established and you find yourself
doing really weird things--like jogging at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning
or going to swim at the YMCA after work at 4:00. There will also be
mental/psychological changes too, such things as feeling better about
your body, some pride in your self-discipline, a little more self-esteem.
There are lots of exercise books that you can find at Amazon or
Barnes & Noble. Three worth mentioning are Gavin (1991) and Hays
(1999, 2002). The 1999 Hays book was written by a psychologist for
therapists who want to incorporate exercise into the life of their
clients. The author gives suggestions for getting started, for
overcoming inertia, for using exercise to reduce stress, depression,
traumatic reactions, and mental illness. Her 2002 book helps readers
select the most fun and effective activities for their specific symptoms.
Exercise can also increase self-esteem, help you stay fit, and provide a
way to interact.
Several governmental agencies and universities offer Websites
Change the environment and use reinforcement
Depressed people focus on the negative happenings in their lives;
they focus on immediate outcomes and lose their perspective of the
future. They also blame themselves for failures and set difficult
standards for themselves. They give themselves little praise and
rewards but lots of self-criticism (see methods 1-9 in chapter 6; Rehm,
1981). This creation of depression involves biased self-observation,
negative self-evaluation and self-punishment. Like depression, anxiety
involves an expectation of helplessness and doom. Anger involves
seeing someone else as intentionally causing you pain. Passive-
dependency reflects self-putdowns relative to others. All these
emotions involve a complex interaction between the environment and
our own cognitive processes.