Perhaps some of you have already given up on that New Year’s Resolution to exercise more, lose weight, and improve your health. Look, no judgment! We’re not trying to focus on the past, we’re only focused on moving forward.
Maybe the problem is that you just haven’t found a way to make exercise an unbreakable habit. So, to get your mind, body, and motivation in sync, here are ten ways to make exercise a consistent, no-brainer, daily part of your life!
10 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit
#1 Only Engage in Exercises You Actually Enjoy
Forcing yourself to run when you truly hate running? Dreading every moment of sweating through hot yoga? Release yourself from the burden of practicing exercises you don’t enjoy! With so many different types of workouts at your fingertips, there’s no need to force yourself into the ones you can’t stand.
Exercise should be an act of self-love; there’s nothing loving about self-torture! Experiment with different types of workouts until you find the one that clicks.
You can start by checking out some options like:
- Strength training
#2 Get Involved With a Community
To make exercise a habit, find a group of people who are very effective at guilting you. Just kidding, but it is important to find a community of people who can carry you through ruts or slumps, and champion you through wins and successes.
This may be because of something called the Köhler Effect, which essentially states that nobody wants to be the weakest link of the group. This study, for example, shows that 95% of people who started a weight loss program with friends completed the program, and 66% maintained their weight loss. We are here for those odds!
#3 Put It Down On Paper
According to the Mayo Clinic, it may be beneficial and motivating to write your goals down on paper. This can include goals like:
- I want to lose 20 lbs.
- I want to have more energy to play with my kids. Ex: spend an hour playing at the park with ease.
- I want to lose 10% of my body fat.
- I want to feel confident wearing a swimsuit at the beach.
The Mayo Clinic also suggests keeping a fitness diary in which you record your workouts and track your progress so you can tangibly see all you’ve accomplished. Plus, you can take a snapshot and show it off to all your fitness pals!
#4 Stack Exercise With Other Habits
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about a really useful practice for forming new habits called “habit stacking,” where you stack behaviors you want to implement with other activities you already do every day.
For example, if you know you always watch the 5:00 news, either use this time to get your workout in during the programming or practice exercising right at 6:00, when it’s over.
You could also pair exercise with other smaller habits, like “after I take off my office shoes (which I must do anyway), I will immediately put on my running shoes.” It’s simple, and it works!
#5 Keep Things Interesting
Doing the same workouts every day can get super boring and monotonous, which can impede your motivation to continue. Try to change your workouts often to keep things exciting.
Here’s some ideas:
- If you love hiking, find new trails you’ve never explored before.
- Stream a workout you’ve never done before, like dance or Pilates.
- If you love running, change up your location. Go for a run on a beach path, for example.
#6 Get Rid of Obstacles
Don’t let silly, avoidable obstacles get in the way of your exercise routine. Here are some obstacles you should pre-plan for:
- Make sure your phone is fully charged, so you have music to listen to.
- Have a downloaded music playlist stored on your phone in case there’s weak wifi or data access.
- Put your phone on airplane mode, so you don’t get interrupted by work emails or other distractions.
- Make sure you have a full bottle of water.
- Leave an extra pair of workout clothes in your car or office in case you forget yours.
- Store band-aids in a fanny pack or in your car in case of blisters.
#7 Have a Clear ‘Why’
Studies show that transformation journeys are much more successful when he or she knows why they are doing it. Do you know your true reason for wanting to make exercise an unbreakable habit? If not, take some time to write it out. Here are some ideas, if you’re stuck:
- I want to be healthier and live longer for my family.
- I want to feel happier and more positive about my life.
- I want to overcome depression and anxiety.
- I want to be confident in my body and increase my self-esteem.
Whatever your reason is, make it meaningful and personal. When you know your ‘why,’ you’ll be less likely to want to give up!
#8 Hold Yourself Accountable
If you tell your friend you’re meeting him or her for a workout, chances are, you’re not going to flake. That’s because you wouldn’t want to risk disappointing or irritating your friend.
This all comes back to accountability — find ways to hold yourself accountable, whether that’s working out with a partner, getting an activity tracker, or starting a fitness Instagram account where you track and share your progress with others!
#9 Put it On the Calendar
Schedule your workouts, so you never have the excuse, “I just didn’t have time today.” Set an alert on your phone so that you can’t forget.
If you have a belief that you just don’t have time for exercise, try monitoring your schedule for a week and see where you find 30-minute slots of free time. If you’ve got 30 minutes for Riverdale, you’ve got 30 minutes for squats!
#10 Throw Money at the Problem
If you are really struggling to maintain a consistent exercise practice and you have the resources to do so, throw a little money at the problem. If you’ve paid for a trainer, a program, or a membership, chances are you won’t want to see your money wasted.
Try this little trick: make a plan with a friend. Tell them how many times a week you want to exercise and that you will send a photo of yourself doing said exercise each time. If you miss a day, you’ll send them $5 (or some other agreed upon, manageable amount) that they can send to a charity. Try this, and you’ll definitely be hitting the gym!
What are you waiting for? Now that you know how to make exercise an unbreakable habit, there’s no excuses. Start today so you can become the best possible version of you!