Archive for the tag - how to make exercise a habit

How to Make Exercise a Habit.

Consistency is key when it comes to exercise; it’s absolutely essential to habitualize your workouts, and thus avoid the see-saw roller coaster that so many exercisers experience.

Can you relate to the experience of working out for a week, and then skipping a day that turns into a week that becomes a month? Before you know it, your entire program is derailed and your fitness goals go out the door. If any of that resonates with you, here are a few helpful tips to make exercise habit:

  1. If you exercise in the morning, lay out your gym outfit before bed. Mentally, it sets you up for exercise in the morning – and it’s less fumbling that you’ll have to do when the alarm goes off in the AM.
  2. Find an exercise program that you enjoy. Relatively speaking anyway. I don’t enjoy sprinting on the treadmill, but I do enjoy it more than cycling. Maybe swimming is your cup of tea. Or maybe it’s rowing, or kayaking. Maybe you’d rather take a gymnastics class than lift weights. Or do yoga. If it’s something that you like, you’re more likely to stick to it.
  3. Create a schedule. Set dates and times for your workout. Plot it out on a calendar, and hold yourself to it. Otherwise you may put it off until you “don’t have the energy” to exercise. For example, I get up at 5:30 AM during the week to exercise.
  4. Get a workout buddy. If you know you are meeting someone at the gym, it’s harder to skip out. It’s letting yourself down AND standing up a friend. Simple idea, but it works.
  5. Commit appropriately. Most importantly, don’t take a bigger workout bite than you can chew. I see so many well-intentioned fitness enthusiasts burn themselves out because they go from no gym time to 10 hours a week. Be realistic, and build up slowly over time. There’s nothing wrong (and a lot right) with starting small – whatever that means for you.
  6. Don’t skip scheduled workout days. One day easily becomes two, and so forth and so on. Don’t slide down that slippery slope. If you are scheduled to workout on a given day, stick to it. Of course, build rest days into your schedule, too. That’s very different than skipping.
  7. Find a time that works for you. As I mentioned, I exercise in the morning. Many people exercise after work. Figure out what works with your other commitments and aligns with your body’s energy.
  8. Take the first step. When you wake up, put your feet on the floor. The hardest step is the first one. Take it!

And fear not, once exercise becomes a habit, it’s automatic. Though I’ve used many of these tips myself, exercise isn’t a choice for me. When I wake up, I don’t ask myself, “Should I workout today?” I just get up and do it. It’s non-negotiable. And that’s that.

Is habitualizing exercise a challenge for you? Tell me about it in the comments below. What tips do you have?