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?

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I started with a trainer and I found that helped a lot with the motivation, the perception that others were “judging” me and to make friends at the gym. This was great because then it felt more like my place. But, the best thing my trainer did was to write down every work-out we did. I still do this now a year and a half later. The reason it is great is because you can see your progress and get a feeling of accomplishment for having put something in there.

  2. We make time for our priorities in life,excuses for everything else.I am new to the fitness world,and look forward to daily tips.I do not have any equipment home,so keep the info like yesterdays coming.You are my trainer for the present time.will join a fitness center in about 2-3 weeks.. love ya Davy—— Glenn

  3. I did 3, but i would really want 4! haha, some other workout after… ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Getting a trainer is a great idea. Another thing that is very important is choosing a gym that is convenient for you. Make it hard to make excuses. I always liked the gym to be on the way home from work. If I passed home first I might be tempted to bag it. But it was hard to drive by the gym and skip.

  5. From experience, I think number 2 is absolutely the most important. You can add structure and try everything else, but unless your heart is in it, failure is much more likely.

    It’s also important to ask yourself “Why do I want to workout or exercise?” Is it to look better? Feel better? An existing health issue? I would bet that the most motivated people are those that are working out for their appearance. Hence why so many married men stop going to the gym and why so many gay men live at the gym.

  6. for me its making it out of bed in time to do the exercises, i’m awake and i just cant seem to get out of bed, any suggestions?

  7. I’m just waaaaaay to embarassed about how far I’ve let my body go in the 5 years since high school to go to the gym. I used to be a soccer player and martial artist. I ripped all the tendons in my right ankle and had to stay off it for a couple months and just…stopped being physical ๐Ÿ™ Starting to try and build a home gym now so I can’t claim body-embarassment for the reason not to go to the gym.