How to Make Working Out a Habit
Can you relate to this? You make a promise to yourself to exercise. You get excited about it and work out for a few days or even a few days – and then you quit.
This cycle of on-and-off exercising can repeat itself for a lifetime if you let it. As a result, you won’t achieve the fitness levels you’re capable of. More importantly, you miss out on the many healthful benefits of exercise. That includes increased strength and cardiovascular fitness, improved mood, muscle and bone strength, and good mobility. As you age, a regular exercise habit also helps reduce falls.
So what does it take to make working out a habit? Here are 11 ways you can create an exercise routine you look forward to and enjoy.
1. Find a workout you love
Workouts are not supposed to be punishments. Working out should be something you love to do! That’s why it’s essential to find an activity that you enjoy. Not everyone likes to do HIIT workouts or run ten miles. But you might find that you enjoy cycling, yoga, swimming, power walking – or something else. Experiment with different options until you find an activity that suits you!
2. Start small
A common misconception about exercise is that you have to spend hours in the gym for it to be effective. Short workouts can be just as effective. Plus, they’re easier to mentally process when you get started. Your mini-workout can be as short as five to ten minutes. Go for a quick walk around the block. Do crunches when you’re watching TV. Move your body for short intervals at a time and gradually increase when you can.
3. Schedule your workout
It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time to work out.” When you schedule it, you can make time. Set an alarm or write it in your planner if that helps. Choose a time that fits into your day. Get up 30 minutes earlier before work, schedule it during your lunch hour, or create time in the evenings. If you don’t have 10 or 15 minutes to spare in your day for a healthy activity, you might be taking on too much!
4. Measure your results
For some people, the results they see from exercising are motivating. These results might be weight loss-related, but they don’t have to be. Other results include:
- Clothes fitting better
- More energy
- More strength
- Not getting winded when taking the stairs
- Visible muscle definition
- Better flexibility
There are many ways to measure results that will give you a mental boost to keep going.
5. Put out your clothes
The fewer obstacles there are to starting a new workout routine, the better. One way to remove obstacles is to set your clothes and gear out the night before. If you plan on doing yoga in the morning, lay out your mat and blocks so they’re ready to go. The same goes for your clothes. Then you’ll be ready without excuses and save time in your daily routine.
6. Incorporate variety
Doing the same workout over and over again will get boring. Plus, it’s better for your muscles to mix it up a bit. Test out different workouts regularly to work different muscles and other parts of your body. This is a great way to prevent boredom.
7. Participate in a challenge
Participating in a fitness challenge alone or with others can help you stay focused. During a challenge, there will be a start and end date that provides structure. In addition, a challenge encourages you to track your progress and measure your results. Seeing what you can accomplish will motivate you to keep going and stick with it.
8. Ditch the “all-or-nothing” attitude
Many people have an “all-or-nothing” attitude about working out. This might sound like: “If I’m not sweating and out of breath, I failed!” or “I skipped yesterday, so I might as well skip today.” Nothing increases the odds of self-sabotage than the all-or-nothing approach. Accept that you will miss days sometimes, and that’s okay.
9. Work out at the same time daily
Exercising at the same time of day – no matter what time it is – can help enforce a workout habit. Knowing what time you will work out takes the guesswork out of it. A 2019 study in the journal Obesity found that the group who exercised at the same time daily:
- Logged more workouts
- Worked out for more minutes
- Achieved the recommendation of working out for 150 minutes per week
Consistently working out at the same time daily might make you more successful in making exercise a long-term habit.
10. Set realistic goals
Don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to working out. Setting attainable goals increases your chances for success. However, setting big goals that are unattainable right now may leave you discouraged and more likely to quit. Use the SMART system to set your initial workout goals: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, you might set a goal to run a 5K eight weeks from now.
11. Work out with a friend
Exercising with a friend makes it more fun! It’s a chance to catch up – but you’ll also have an accountability buddy that helps you stick to your exercise plan. This is a great way to stay motivated. It can also be a great way to meet new people if you decide to join a gym, running club, or another workout crew. Exercise with someone at the same fitness level as you to limit frustration or feelings of inadequacy.
If you don’t enjoy working out right now, try some of the tips listed above. Working out is hugely beneficial for your health – for your mind, body, and spirit! It’s all about finding an activity you enjoy and incorporating it into your daily routine. You don’t need to be the best, the fastest, or the strongest unless that is a goal you have down the line. The important part is being active to support good health!
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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