Everyone knows they need to exercise, but most of us struggle to make exercise a regular habit. Maybe you want to build some muscle or perhaps you’d like to lose some extra pounds. Either way, you ultimately want to feel better, be healthier, and be more proud of your body.
What’s the key to exercising regularly? You might think it’s a matter of willpower, but willpower is only a short-term solution. Besides the usual “just do it” slogan try these strategies instead to develop an exercise habit:
- Set a goal. You must know where you’re headed. Do you want to gain or lose weight? Are you trying to become faster or stronger? It’s important to do one thing at a time. Maybe you want to gain 20 lbs of muscle and lose 30 lbs of fat. Lose the fat first and then focus on gaining that muscle.
- Ensure your goal has a deadline. A deadline creates a sense of urgency. A good deadline should be challenging, but realistic. For instance, my goal this summer was to lose 5 lbs of belly fat in 30 days just in time for my vacation on the beach.
- Keep it Near. Put your goal and deadline on your nightstand. Review them both every night and every morning.
- Determine a time that works for you. If you exercise first thing in the morning, your evening will be free and you know you’ll get your exercise done. I’ve often used an app with a timer that counts down that helps me roll out of bed in the morning.
- Create a plan. Your plan should be based on your goal and deadline. Consider including a schedule, the exercises you’ll perform, and the number of sets or repetitions. Your plan, like your deadline, should also be reasonable. Avoid setting yourself up for failure.
- If possible, find an experienced training partner. Finding a committed and experienced workout partner is a key to your success. If your partner quits, you’re much more likely to quit, too. So find someone that is as serious about working out as you would like be about working out. Approach them and see if you can train along with them.
- Stay consistent. There will be days that you don’t feel like exercising, but those can be your best workout days. When it’s time to exercise, it’s time to exercise. The more you do your exercise, the stronger the habit becomes. Work your plan.
Remember that your plan is your path to success.
- Work on your inner game. Having a goal and a plan will strengthen your confidence. Seeing positive changes in your performance and appearance helps too! If you do the right things every day, success is inevitable!
Think about all the wonderful benefits you’ll gain by developing a strong exercise habit. Keep that picture in your mind when the going gets tough. Having success in this area of your life can translate into other successes too.
The great thing about exercising is that you’re not really dependent on anyone else. All the variables are under your control. It’s a great way to test how much control you have over yourself.
In 30 days, you can have a strong exercise habit that will be resistant to change. Put your best efforts into this first month to create your habit, and you’ll find smooth sailing after that.
Do you have any other tips for staying motivated?