How to Make Exercise a Habit
What’s your day like? Do you spend a full day doing your job, then take the kids to their activities? Do you try and sneak in a little house cleaning here and there? And then do you prepare dinner and help the kids with homework? Phew! Life is hectic.
And with a packed schedule, it can leave very little time for doing things for yourself – like exercise. But if you want to make exercise a part of your daily activities, it’s essential that you make it a habit. After all, whether it’s a bad habit or a good habit – habits can be hard to break. So, make exercise a good habit with these simple tips.
- Set Small, Achievable Goals: You probably have goals in other areas of your life. You have work goals. Family goals. Why not exercise goals? The key to setting exercise goals is to make them small and achievable. While you may want to run a half marathon at some point in time, that’s most likely not a small and achievable goal if you do not already have a strong fitness base. Instead, completing a Couch to 5K program might be a start. Or, even setting a goal of exercising three times this week for a minimum of 15 minutes each time. Set goals that work for you!
- Live By the Motto: Progress, Not Perfection: If you set a goal of working out three times this week and miss your first scheduled workout, how would you handle it? Would you scrap the entire week? Or, would you be happy to get in two workouts? Do not let perfectionism rule when it comes to exercise goals. It’s all about moving forward – and baby steps are perfectly fine!
- Try Lots of Different Workouts: If you’re just getting started, try different types of workouts – because there are bound to be ones you love and ones you don’t. Why say, “I’m going to be a runner,” – if you hate running? Find what works for you – because you’re more likely to stick with it if you actually enjoy doing it.
- Make Your Workout an Appointment That You Won’t Miss: You would not dream of missing a doctor’s appointment or a dentist’s appointment. After all, they’re on your calendar, and you’ve committed to being there. Do the same with your workouts. Put your workouts on your calendar and commit to doing them.
- Know That Some Days You Just Won’t Want to Do It – But Do It Anyways: Is it raining outside this morning and making it really hard to get out of bed? Do you just want to head home after work and watch your favorite television show – and skip the gym? These days will happen. But put the excuses aside and do it anyway. And if you can’t get in your scheduled workout – for whatever reason – find a substitute. YouTube is full of videos that can guide you through some physical activity.
- Grab Some Friends: If you want some additional pressure to keep exercising, get your friends involved. Ask them to join you! Ask them to take a walk or hit the gym or take a yoga class together. It’s a great way to spend time together – and you’re way less likely to skip out when a friend or two is involved.
- Embrace the Little Victories: While you may have hopes of setting a PR (personal record) or losing a certain number of pounds, embrace the little victories along the way. Give yourself a pat on the back when you meet one of those small, achievable goals you set. Did you make it to class three times this week? YES! Did you try a new spin class with the hardest instructor – and survive? Woohoo! Celebrate!! No victory is too small!
When exercise becomes a habit, good things will come from it – for both your body and mind. Use these tips to start establishing that habit today!