It’s probably a familiar story, you make a commitment to yourself to do more exercise and keep at it for a while, but slowly but surely over time your commitment wanes and you find yourself skipping more and more workouts. Your intentions – as good as they are – aren’t enough to turn exercise into a habit. So we’ve put together our top tips for ensuring your new exercise habit is here to stay.
A lasting commitment takes about 4 weeks, or a month, to develop. If you can stick to the first month of exercise, your chances of it turning into a regular habit increase greatly.
Let’s face it – you’re more likely to stick with a new workout routine if you’re enjoying it. Part of this means choosing workouts you enjoy. If you hate running for example try cycling. Forcing yourself to do a workout you hate will only make it that much harder for it to become a workout.
Another part of making workouts more enjoyable can be as simple as watching your favorite TV show or listening to music while you work out. Walking on the treadmill while catching up with the latest episode of reality TV, or lifting weights while listening to the podcast you’re currently binging will make your workouts fly by and even make you look forward to them. Try listening to a podcast, audiobooks, watching a TV show, or creating a playlist of your favorite high-tempo songs.
Goals are great and can help you create a habit of working out, but they can also be a hindrance if you set the bar too high. For example, a goal to work out for 20 days each month, or even 15 days if you’re a beginner, is a good starting point, but setting a goal to work out 30 times in 30 days can quickly become overwhelming and cause you to give up altogether.
Most people think that putting yourself on a rigid workout schedule will help them form exercise into a habit, but usually, the opposite occurs. Instead, schedule your workouts in a way that they fit into your week rather than trying to schedule your week around your workouts. If you limit yourself to working out at the same time daily, you’ll more than likely end up missing more workouts than you complete which eventually will end with you breaking the habit altogether.
Having a goal to lose weight is great, but it shouldn’t be your only motivation to work out. Why? Because if you don’t lose weight quickly enough you may find yourself frustrated and giving up on your goal. Instead set goals focused on running for longer stretches or lifting a higher amount of weights.
Exercise is not just about working out in a gym. Instead, find workouts that work for you and vary them up. Spend a few days a week in the gym, take one day to walk or run outside, or add in some team sports now and then. Take the stairs at work, walk to the store – the point is making fitness part of your lifestyle. If you can do this, turning working out into a product will happen more easily.
Life will always throw you curve balls. Whether you’re facing deadlines at work, get sick, have to travel, or need to take care of housework as a priority don’t give up working out altogether. Instead, find 10-15 minutes on those days to get a little movement in. This will go a long way in ensuring working out remains a habit and becomes a regular part of your routine.