12 tips to Make Exercise a Habit
Habit. It is defined as “a regular tendency or practice, one that is hard to give up”. Things like caffeine, to brushing your teeth, to sitting on the couch and binge watching “House of Cards” are all common habits that some people have (and by “some people” I really mean me).
Exercise, however, is not usually a habit that a lot of us have, but it is something that most of us strive for.
Moving your body can help you stay above ground longer, while also giving you that extra spring in your step – something that we all desire.
If you lack exercise as one of your habits I suggest you start implementing one, or all, of the following tips.
Best Tips to Make Fitness a Habit:
1/ Start small. First, begin with something that is super easy so that it can be done on a consistent basis. For instance, focus on 15-minute workouts before that half marathon. If the task, or goal, is too big you will give up before you even get going.
2/ Commit. Commitment is hard, but if you want fitness to become a habit than you need to buck up and commit. Join a fitness class, hire a personal trainer (most of us charge before the sessions start, giving you loads of incentive to keep coming back), or buy some exercise DVDs.
3 / Fitness buddy. Once you have committed to an activity find yourself a buddy to help hold you (and them) accountable. Agree to meet on a weekly basis and then tell the other what you will be doing for the rest of the week for exercise. Research has shown that the simple act of telling someone our intentions helps us stick to them. Join my Facebook community to start.
4/ Become a morning person. Workout first thing in the morning, before life gets in the way and the excuses of “I’ll do it later” begin.
5/ Become an after work person. If morning can’t happen, then get your workout in after work, but before you get home. Because once you get home it is way harder to get your butt moving again – especially when it knows how much easier it is to go sit on the couch.
6/ Figure out your “why”. Bikini body is nice, but dig a little deeper please. If your “why” does not make you burst into song and dance then when the chips are down you ain’t gonna get those Nikes’ on. So, figure out why you want to exercise and let that stoke the coals.
7/ Use technology. Use Siri, or reminders on your phone to get you moving. I also love habit-building apps like the Way of Life and Good Habits (download on iTunes). Both apps help you to develop habits by tracking what you do everyday, as well as giving you regular reminders to keep doing them.
8 / Do what you love. Tip, if you never want to make exercise a habit then do something you absolutely hate and that makes you feel awful afterwards. But, if you love it, or love the results and after-effects, you will continue on and make it stick.
9 / Do it at home. Don’t make it too hard to exercise, instead find an activity that you can do at home. I do this personally. I love yoga, but I find it challenging to get to a class. So, instead, I stream the website GaiamTV.com and get a class in, right in my own living room and at times that work for me.
10 / Mix it up. Try different activities and expand your fitness world. Keep yourself motivated and excited with change. Try mixing it up with this fun 40-minute workout.
11 / Have a plan. If you are new to exercise no matter what you do for the first 6-10 weeks you will see results, if you stay consistent. However, after the newbie-high is over you will need a plan to continue to see progress. So, arm yourself with a plan, with information and stay abreast on the latest research (like subscribing to this blog… just saying. Wink, wink.)
12 / Fake it until you make it. I am in love with TED Talks and I recently watched social psychologist Amy Cuddlyone chat about her research that she has done with people and changing how they feel by simply changing their body posture. She wanted to know if our actions, like smiling when we aren’t necessarily happy, could affect our moods, and guess what? It does.
So, fake it until you make it. Pretend you love exercise, smile even when it hurts and try to radiate health and well-being and guess what? Your body will soon follow.