Many people find it difficult to get started on a healthy habits program because overall, committing to an exercise habit is not easy. There’s a fine line between wanting to work out and making exercise an actual part of your day.
Everyone wants to feel healthier, mentally and physically. But it’s hard to motivate yourself, and harder still to stick with a workout routine when you don’t feel much from it immediately.
It’s important to remember that exercising is going to take some hard work, but sticking with a solid plan can make all the difference.
Here are three simple ways you can adapt to make healthy habits to start rolling in your everyday life!
Set Mini-Goals for Yourself
A good way to motivate yourself to exercise is to set small, specific, and achievable goals for yourself. You can write these down in a notebook and check them off one by one as you accomplish them. Remember not just to make random goals that you might abandon later on.
For instance, say your goal is to tone your abdomen. Then, you can start doing a small number of reps that are achievable for you. You wouldn’t want to start doing 100 sit-ups all of a sudden. Simply start with 8 or 10, then you can increase the number over time. Keep the same goal until it’s too easy, and then change it to be more of a challenge. Over time, you’ll reach your goal of doing a lot more reps.
If necessary, schedule a particular time of the day that is dedicated to exercise. It may be 5 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. By doing this, you’re establishing a routine that you’ll get used to doing.
However, be realistic. You don’t want to put your workout schedule in your busiest time. This is because, when things get busy, it will be your excuse not to fulfill that scheduled activity.
Create a Workout Ritual
A habit is not a habit if you don’t do it repeatedly. The good news is that you can develop a new habit if you commit to doing so by understanding what it means to start small and get started over and over again. Habits are powerful and often unconscious patterns of behavior. Therefore, once you develop that ritual, it can be tough to change unless you’ll change the pattern again.
Building habits doesn’t require a magic trick, it simply requires the ability to start over again until the behavior sticks. It means that if you can figure out how to start exercising, then you can find a way to make it a habit easier.
The best way to do this is following the “implementation intention” strategy. This technique is making an advanced plan on when and where to do your plan. According to a 2001 British study, participants who filled this sentence “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes exercise in [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE]” exercised at least once per week. There were 91% of them, compared to 35 to 38% who exercised without filling in the sentence. If you take a look at it, those who created an intention beforehand to implement their goal were more than those who didn’t.
While this study is over 20 years old, the concept it establishes is no less relevant today. Creating a clear action plan and doing that is much more achievable than a vague New Year’s resolution to “exercise more.” Planning is one step of the process, and if you get that out of the way, then it’s much easier to start.
What is Implementation Intention?
Implementation intentions are voluntary, pre-conscious plans that you make automatically in advance of a specific goal-related action. It is a psychological concept or a personalized planning intervention that will help you achieve your goals under time constraints. This concept makes it easier for people to act following their long-term goals. You can often make the action more automatic, and thus turn a near-habitual behavior into a full-fledged one.
By making a plan, or an ‘’implementation intention” about when and where to execute an exercise or task, you can increase the likelihood of carrying out that task and making it part of your behavior. For individuals who desire to be active, it is an effective strategy to carry your intentions into a behavior.
Don’t Rely On Motivation
It is no mystery that the desire to change and make a change is all but universal. And yet, the truth is that, like motivation and willpower, the desire exists on a spectrum. The truth is, we all have the desire to make the change. But, do we have the plan and intention to do it?
While motivation is something that will push us to achieve our goals, it is fickle. One day you’re motivated and the next you’re unmotivated. The key to long-term success is having an implementation plan.
Ultimately, it’s the plan for how you’re going to achieve the goals that will help you get there. Without a plan, all your motivation and desire will amount to nothing. For example, saying that you want to get into shape isn’t enough. Those are dreams and wants – not intentions. To make it a plan, you can say; “tomorrow, I will start my workout schedule in the morning before I go to work.”
Find an Exercise You Enjoy Most
Having fun is essential to making an exercise habit. There are lots of exercises you can choose from. But, if you find the perfect exercise, one that fits your needs and your preferences, you’ll be more willing to jump in.
In general, the best way to do this is to choose an exercise you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be the standard push-ups if that doesn’t work for you. For example, you might want to start a cardio routine. You could go on a run, get on your bike, or even start dancing.
Doing an exercise that you don’t enjoy is like forcing yourself to drink something you hate. If you just want to spit it out the entire time, then the only motivation you’re going to have is to never drink it again.
So, the routine should be fun if you want to stick with it in the long run. If that means going out every day for jogging because you don’t enjoy staying in the gym, go for it. No matter what road you choose, the most important thing is to find one that you enjoy.
If you want to know how to start exercising again, you should know there really isn’t a simple secret to it. It takes time, willpower, and a lot of dedication. But by setting realistic, achievable goals, following through with a plan, and finding an exercise you enjoy most, you’ll quickly turn exercise into a habit.