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Want to know how to make exercise an unbreakable habit? This post will help you to turn your casual workout practice into a regular exercise habit.
You might be struggling to form exercise habits. Trust me, you’re not alone. Most people’s experience of developing this habit is like – start, stop, start again, and stop again and so on. Finally, they end up losing motivation for exercise.
But few among us do exercise regularly, and they do it as if they are habituated with it. Do you want to develop a habit like these people?
In this article, we’ll consider a strategic approach to form this healthy habit. And you can apply the process in other aspects of your life.
1. Focus on ONE habit
When it is a matter of fitness, we often set multiple goals at the same time – running, lift weighting, healthy diet, cutting sweet and avoiding soda, etc. Although they are essential for health, you cannot focus equally on all of them at the same time. When you work on multiple goals, you likely miss focus on the real goal (exercise). Therefore, focus on one habit at a time.
If you want to lose fat and build muscle, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on losing weight first and then gaining muscle.
2. Set a SMART goal
You should set a clear goal for exercise. Be specific about how many pounds you want to gain or lose. Set a goal in the SMART framework.
Here is the difference between a general goal and a SMART Goal.
General goal: I want to lose weight.
SMART goal: I want to lose 30 pounds of fat by December.
The term SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Here is the goal-setting process according to the SMART acronym.
- Specific: Be specific about what activity exactly you are going to do. Instead of saying ‘I will exercise,’ say ‘I will walk’ or ‘I will do pushups.’
- Measurable: Give a number to your goal – 1 mile, 10 pushups, 10 minutes, etc. For example, I will run for 10 minutes.
- Attainable: Develop attitudes and mindset to reach the goal. Make a plan to manage time for exercise.
- Realistic: If you are planning to go to a gym for an hour every day, stop setting this type of goal. Because it is too difficult to sustain in the long run. Set an easy goal instead – I will do 3 sets of 5 pushups every day.
- Timely: There should be a deadline for your goal. It will create a sense of urgency. Set a 30-day challenge for instance.
When we set a goal with a lot of enthusiasm and ambition, we often overlook reality. Make the exercise goal easy to begin the habit, and gradually increase the number after a month.
An ideal goal is clear, measurable and deadline oriented. Once you’ve set the goal, note it down on a sticky note and stick in front of you. Read the goal regularly to be motivated for achievement.
Learn more about SMART Goal and time wasting activities in this post – How to Manage Time to Make a Side Business Successful.
3. Set a time
Every day you make time for many things – eating meals, driving to and from work, watching television, surfing the internet and many more. It is time to set a time for exercise in daily routine because it is as essential in life as eating meals. It will keep you going throughout the day.
Do an audit of your daily routine. Identify less important or time-wasting activities you do every day. Eliminate some time-wasting activities form your daily routine, and free up a minimum of 30 minutes for exercise. Find out a suitable time that will work for you. Learn time management techniques to utilize your time in better way.
4. Link with daily activity
We generally think that forming a new habit is a matter of willpower or motivation. But simply motivation is not sufficient to form a habit, you need to be strategic to develop it. The trick is to link exercise habits with daily activity. Every day you brush teeth, drop kids to school, watch the news on TV, and work on the computer. Now link exercise with one of these routine activities. For instance, you can say – every day I will run for 10 minutes before I sit in front of my computer. Got the idea? Let’s move to next point.
5. Make exercise enjoyable
Exercising should be fun. It should not like attending a 9 to 5 job. Driving to and from a health club and waiting in traffic may result in an excuse to skip a day. Make exercise simple by including few tools like a simple set of weights, a pair of sports shoes and a jump rope, so that you can get started promptly instead of wasting time in traffic.
Search for an open space in your area to play badminton or a court to play basketball or tennis. Bring variations in physical activities. Instead of sticking to one type of workout, do swimming, walking, cycling, playing basketball whenever possible, especially on weekends.
6. Find a workout buddy
People often quit exercise because of boredom or loneliness. To avoid this feeling, be partnered with a friend or a like-minded person. Find a committed and experienced workout partner. Your journey to exercise habits will be more enjoyable. Even it will help you to be accountable to your workout partner, and you’ll likely skip a day for exercise. However, it is okay if you fail to find an exercise partner. Don’t wait for motivation. Just start, you may find someone along the way.
Struggling to do exercise regularly? This nine-step guide will help you to turn casual workout practice into a regular exercise habit.
7. Be consistent for exercise habit
Consistency is one of the keys to success. There will be days you’ll have less energy to exercise. But you should be committed to your plan. Start exercise, those days could be your best workout days. The more you exercise, the habit will be stronger. If it is time to exercise, do it now. Be consistent with your workout plan. Plan to be regular for 30 days, you will develop a powerful habit for exercise eventually.
8. Log in daily and track progress
Keep a record of progress from the beginning of an exercise plan. Any positive change in the body will motivate you to continue the program in the future. Develop a system to test your fitness occasionally. For example, how long you can stay underwater in swimming or how long it takes you to walk a mile. You’ll be more interested in sticking to your goal when you see positive progress from your effort.
9. Visualize your ideal health
Whenever you feel less energetic, think about all the benefits that you are going to get when you exercise regularly.
I’ll be healthier – physically and mentally. I’ll feel better and look better.
Visualize the image in your mind when the going gets tough.
We’re talking about a practice that offers incredible benefits in our daily life. Success in developing exercise habit can help you get success in other areas of life. Therefore, give your best effort in forming this habit in the first 30 days, after that you’ll find it like smooth sailing, and the habit will be unbreakable.
From this post, we’ve learned – focus on one habit, set a SMART goal, set time for exercise, and link exercise to daily work. Also, some techniques to be motivated to do exercise regularly. Now let’s set a 30-day challenge to make exercise an unbreakable habit. Here is an example I set for the next 30 days. You can set your own exercise habit challenge by editing this example.
I want to lose belly fat, so I’ll do 3 sets of 5 pushups on weekdays in the next 30 days. On weekends, I’ll do cycling for 30 minutes.
It’s your turn
Change underlined words to make your plan. Share your program with my audience and me. And feel free to share your thought in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.
I was struggling to develop exercise habit. Finally I’ve got the techniques in your article. By following your points, I’ll develop my own strategy to form a habit to exercise regularly.
Glad to know that you found the post helpful.