Exercising can be a hard thing to get into regularly, especially if your brand new to the whole thing. But there are simple strategies you can use to make exercise a habit and a part of your overall lifestyle.
It’s important to make exercise a habit because your physical health matters. It’s super important and shouldn’t be neglected!
Exercising is also a wonderful way to get in tune with your body’s needs. We often ignore physical ailments because we have so much going on. Exercise forces you to take pause and get present with your physical self.
And making an exercise a habit will be easier than you think because there are so many ways to do so. I’ll go over that a little later, but first I wanted to point out why it may be hard for most people to make exercise a habit.
A habit is a specific behavior that is performed on a regular basis. We all have habits, some good and some bad, that we can be seen doing every single day. Trust me, we all have them!
How do I form a habit?
Author Charles Duhigg points out that we form habits through a ‘habit loop‘ in his book, The Power of Habit. He breaks down how we form habits into three parts:
- Cue or trigger for the behavior
- Performing the behavior
- The reward for the behavior
The first part begins with a cue or trigger, which prepares your mind for the behavioral piece. In a way it “tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold“. Interesting stuff, huh?
The second part is the behavior itself. This is what you do when you’re “triggered”. In this case the behavior you are striving for is consistent and regular exercise.
The third part is the reward: what you get by completing the behavior and the overall habit.
What do I get out of consistent exercise?
You get to take care of you and your body. You get to (for the most part) work towards looking exactly the way you want, And yes, it is that simple.
Many people neglect their bodies unless they are trying to lose weight or try a new fad. There is nothing wrong with that but I think there is a more efficient way to go about your physical health.
Instead of being reactive, it’s better and more efficient to practice being proactive.
Think of your job. Your boss or leadership team probably reward people for anticipating problems, and not simply just solving them once they arise. It’s not that they don’t value those who are problem solvers.
But how do you think they feel about someone who can anticipate a problem before it happens AND provide an actionable solution?
They would LOVE IT!!
Now, apply the same logic to exercise. In order to make this a habit, you have to really get out of a reactive mindset, and instead get proactive with your behaviors.
By making exercise a habit, you can become more proactive with your physical health. You will have a deeper connection with your body, which is important seeing as you are your biggest advocate.
But exercising can be difficult, especially if you don’t see the benefits. It’s important to see the reward of your habits and behaviors because it means your less likely to practice them!
What the benefits of exercising?
Exercising, especially consistent exercise, is extremely beneficial for your physical health. It forces you to focus on your body which is something you should treat with real intention and purpose.
The benefits from exercise are limitless but some of the major benefits are listed below for your reference:
- Control your body weight
- Strengthen your body
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Improve your mood
- Aids in stress management, including stress reduction
- Reduce risk of anxiety and depression
- Reduce risk of certain cancers
- Improve sleep hygiene
Honestly the list goes on, but these are the most common benefits or major benefits you will see associated with a regular exercise regimen.
So now that you know what exercise is, and how to form a habit, you can start towards making exercise a habit in your life once and for all!
Here are 5 super simple strategies that you can use to make exercise a habit:
Exercise In The Mornings
I know everyone isn’t a morning person and I totally get that, but exercising in the morning is a no-brainer and here’s why.
There are a few reasons for why you should exercise in the mornings. But the I think the best reason is that you get to knock out your workout before the day has even really begun. You get to do something for you first.
How often do our days really start with any type of self-care? I mean adulting is tough. For the most part we are just constantly feeling like we are being pulled in various directions. But that’s where exercising comes in.
Exercising can give you a little form of self-care by helping you to focus on your physical health. Which in turn will change your entire lifestyle. You’ll focus more on developing the good habits versus wallowing in the bad ones!
This also your less likely to cancel your workout session after a killer day at work because you did it before work. When I worked out after work, or at least tried to, I was never consistent. The day would always seem to get away from me or I would be too mentally frazzled to think twice about going to the gym.
It wasn’t until I started doing my workouts in the morning that I saw the consistency. And remember consistency is how you develop good habits.
Don’t Over-Do It At First
If you’re new to exercising altogether, the worst thing you can do is to go too hard, too soon. You have to ease into an exercise regimen until it becomes something you naturally want and feel inclined to do.
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Making exercise a habit means you do exercise consistently. How often is up to you (a little more on this later), but just do it around the same time or days each week. It will help you form the habit of doing it regularly and that’s what you need to stick with exercising.
You don’t want to overdo it in the beginning because you want to continue working out past the first or second session. If you go overboard the first week, you risk injuring yourself or being so sore, you stop exercising altogether. And then you’re right back where you started.
That’s why it’s so important to ease into exercising. You’re not in a rush to get anywhere. Take your time and do it right. The benefits are definitely worth it!
Want to try running as your exercise method? Click here to learn tips on how to start running, perfect for beginners!
Track Your Regimen
To really make sure you are exercising consistently, I believe you need to shift your mindset and focus. I believe you have to give things energy in order for them to work, and that is the same for developing good and sustainable habits.
Tracking your exercise regimen will make exercising consistently a way more obtainable goal. You don’t have to focus too long, but enough to remember to track your workouts.
But it’s worth it if you can develop a habit to give you something in return. Good and solid physical health.
It also helps you stay motivated to continue exercising. It forces you to be mindful of what you’re doing well in your workouts, and what you may need to improve upon. Which will in turn, motivate you even more.
Now you’re doing things that only motivate you to do more. See how that works!
You can track your exercise routines through a few apps like…
These are just a few that I thought of off the top of my head but there are MANY workout trackers out there that I’m confident you can find one for you!
Prepare Gear Ahead of Time
Picking out what you’re going to workout in ahead of time, makes it that much easier to do it when the time comes. It saves time and removes the games your mind tries to play to get you out of working out. Girl, I’ve been there, trust.
You don’t need to banter internally about what to wear, wasting time and potentially not getting to your workout! Prepping your gear ahead of time will give you more focus for other important things. Your workout outfit is not one of them.
Don’t create busywork in your mind if you don’t have to!
The first part is to get comfortable with where you’ll be working out. If you’re working out in a gym or indoors than it will be pretty straight-forward. If you plan to exercise outdoors, than you will just have to also incorporate weather in your decision making regarding what to wear.
Make sure you’re wearing things that are comfortable and loose, but not overly baggy either. You want to be able to exercise with ease and comfort. This should be a pleasant experience in any outfit you wear!
Find An Accountability Partner
My boyfriend always teases me that I love “group work or team projects” and while I don’t think I do per say, I guess in this case I do!
Having a partner on this journey will make it easier for you to make exercise a habit. It will force you to stay on top of your game because you have someone watching you!
And don’t you start ma’am. You know we all tend to do a little more, or go the extra mile when we know we are being watched!
Having an accountability partner also means that you have someone in your corner who can help you achieve your goal a lot quicker. They can help you become more aware of your actions and how it impacts your exercise regimen which only leads to personal growth and improvement.
It’s just another set of eyes on your work, that’s all!
My girlfriends and I check in every week to talk about our weekly goals, no matter how small or big they are. They are my accountability team, seriously. There’s no judgement or shame, just our small way of holding each other accountable.
See, those weren’t too bad! I hope you can use these simple strategies to really transform your lifestyle once and for all. Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental and emotional health.
Start being proactive and you’ll love the results and then some!