“Regular exercise” is one of our most easily breakable commitments, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to stick to an exercise routine and failed numerous times. It’s a demoralizing cycle that can make working-out morph from a fun, constructive activity, into one avoided at all cost.
How To Get Back On Track
Exercise can regulate your moods and can help repair a neglected relationship with your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, look at where your last attempt at exercise went off-course, and try again. “Don’t give up.” the clinic mentions on its website. “Reevaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes. Although you can’t always see visible changes when you lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, you can make a positive impact in your health through regular exercise.”
4 Tricks To Build The Habit
If you’re ready to commit yourself to making exercise a regular thing, here are 4 tricks that will help you build an unbreakable exercise habit!
#1: Do something you enjoy
It seems like such a no-brainer, right? But when it comes to exercise, people tend to take “no pain – no gain” a little too seriously. While it is true that effective exercise will involve discomfort at some level, physical exertion is good for you, and some movement is better than none. When you find the form of that’s right for you, the discomfort you felt at the beginning can quickly transform into a source of great pleasure. The greatest bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, summed it up in the movie Pumping Iron, when he compares the “pump” he gets while working out to the “Big O”.
Many people have no qualms about sharing their opinion on what exercise regime you should follow. Of course, they mean well and are only pushing their activity on you because they love it and experienced personal results. However, finding the right exercise for you can take some time and experimentation. Try some new things.
#2: Start small
This might be the most useful suggestion of all. When we start something new, it’s human nature to go at it full throttle, with lots of energy and enthusiasm. However, burning so brightly in the beginning can lead to burnout, which makes transforming the beginnings of an exercise routine into an unbreakable habit very challenging. In our blog series, “The Habit Loop Explained”, we looked at how habits are made up of three parts:
- Cue – What triggers the habit (alarm goes off)
- Routine – What you do when triggered (take a shower)
- Reward – What makes your brain remember (feel awake, warm, etc.)
The more you successfully run through the loop, the more ingrained your routine becomes, eventually becoming a habit. At first, the key is just to get out there and slowly get your body used to daily exercise. Set achievable goals to stay positive though one of the tougher parts of habit-building.
#3: Schedule your workouts
Besides picking an activity that they hate, the other factor that keeps people from regular exercise is lack-of-time. For many people, exercise is one of those things that they say they’ll get to, eventually, when they have more time. The problem is, saying it without scheduling it is just lip service, and pretending there’s no time when hours are spent binge watching shows is just plain old, self-diluting, B.S. One of the challenges of working out at home is finding the right time to exercise and cutting through excuses.
In order to build an unbreakable exercise habit, you must make time for the construction process. The best way to do that is to schedule your exercise in your calendar and treat it like an important appointment. You would make alternate plans if someone tried to book you at the same time as your scheduled doctor’s appointment. The same should apply for your workout time.
#4: Be consistent
For many people, the couch exerts an incredible gravitational force on their rear-ends the closer it gets to gym time. The hardest part of working out is simply getting started, however, a major component in making something a habit is putting together a chain of successes. They don’t have to be big. Just start moving even when you don’t feel like it, because behavior has a direct impact on your feelings.
Think of it as looking out for “future-you” by making decisions in the present that benefit you later on. It’s like giving your future self a present, and future-you is always grateful when present-day-you makes good, healthy choices.