How to form an exercise habit

May 27, 2012

This is a guest post by David Dack.

Making exercise a daily habit is the way to go if you’re looking to achieve staggering consistency with your training program, thus get the fitness results and the body of your dreams. On the other hand, letting momentum dictate your exercise choices can spell disaster on your fitness resolution and overall health levels.

As a result, to take control over your exercise program, you must turn it into a habit. For that, here are 6 ways that can help.

Start simple

The human mind dreads complexity. As a result, to successfully turn your exercise resolution into a habit, you need to follow a simple and straightforward program. Otherwise, confusion and bewilderment will take their toll on your fitness vision, thus leading to more frustrations and setbacks. Opt for a simple yet challenging program; try out running or cycling if the gym is no option.

Commit to thirty days

The best way to turn your exercise—or any other activity—into a daily habit is by making the commitment to stick to the new activity for 4 consecutive weeks, non-stop. The act of engaging in the activity forces your body to readapt and establish the new habit—even if you’re not a big fond of it from the get go. For more, make sure to sketch out your new resolution on paper by writing and rewriting your training goals on a daily basis; this usually boosts motivation and leads to better consistency.

Peer up with a partner

Human beings are social creatures. No doubts. And turning your exercise into a mini-social event can help you get more consistent, thus turn it into a habit effortlessly. Therefore, if you find it hard to attack the gym or the track solo, then you may need to peer up with a training partner and see your consistency soaring as a result. You and your training partner must share the same training regime and must be at similar levels on the fitness leader. Ask your friends or family members to join you, or head to your local sports club and look for ideal partner.

Reward yourself

Giving yourself a pat on the back is critical for success. Therefore, make sure to reward yourself when achieving progress. Doing so teaches your brain to anticipate pleasure after a hard work, thus enhance your overall workout experience and consistency level. Nevertheless, your rewards must be non-food based as indulging in unhealthy eating habits will backfire on your health resolution. Instead reward yourself by doing something you like such as shopping, a full hour massage, dinner and a movie night with your loved one, and so on.

Add variety

Variety is the spice of life. And when you bring in this component into your exercise routine, the latter becomes more fun and easy to stick to. In addition, if you’re doing a variety of activities—running, tennis, walking, or weight lifting—you’ll ensure consistent action regardless of whether conditions, time of the day, or injury. Furthermore, sticking to the same training program for a prolonged period of time is a sure way to suffer from mental burnout and lack of enthusiasm for the training itself.

Exercise first thing in the morning

According to many studies and my personal experience, people who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to develop a consistent exercise routine over people who exercise at other times of the day. The reason is simple: During the early morning, there are not much errands to run or issues to take care of, thus leaving the mental and time space for a workout.

To successfully exercise in the morning, make sure to get ready for the workout the night before by laying out your training gears and deciding in advance your workout option, so when the alarm goes off, you’ll be both mentally and physical ready for the workout.

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