There are too many pros to exercise. Exercise helps you lose weight. It helps you stay young. It helps you stay smart. It helps you fight cancers. There are over a gazillion reasons to exercise, and more are being discovered every day. If you want in on the free elixir to almost all physiological problems that come from age and disease, you’re going to want to exercise. You’re going to want to know how to replace all your lame (literally), inactive habits for exercise. You’re going to want to know how to make exercise a habit.
The best way to rid procrastination and force yourself to get to work is to develop this mental platform of “If, then. ”
If I wake up, I’ll make my bed.
If I make my bed, I’ll brush my teeth.
If I brush my teeth, I’ll floss.
It’s creating a habitual method, a routine like this that’ll subconsciously force you into doing stuff you thought little of. The activities will just come naturally like that!
Ok, so how do we fit in exercise? Well, you’ve gotta tack it onto something you pretty much do daily. Let’s say you have a job and you come back at work at 5. Instead of racing home to catch up on your favorite TV show, create a scenario:
If I come back from work, I will run/ walk a mile.
If I can’t go to the gym today, I will do an indoor workout
If you have one of these conditions set on paper and then in your mind, making exercise a habit will be a piece of pie!
Clear time for it every day/every other day
Another way to make exercise a habit is to dedicate a specific time for it every day. There are events we already place in the back of our minds as we live our lives. Church is always at 11 on Sundays, class always starts at 9 on Mondays. Think of the times of all the activities you normally do, and the times you do them, and you’ll see that there will be a few hours in the day that have been unclaimed.
And maybe you’re a said busy bee. I know you have at least 30 minutes to spend. After all, about 20 minutes of exercise a day is the recommendation, according to Mayo Clinic.
Get your workout clothes ready the day before
I remember when I used to pick out my outfits the day before so I waste less time. Those elementary days were the days when I had my life together THE MOST!
But on a serious note, though. If you spend too much time thinking of what you’re going to wear, you’ll make an excuse and postpone the gym for another day. Get your clothes READY the night before.
And it would also help if you bought clothes you felt comfortable in wearing. T-shirts and sweats can get boring, so make sure you switch it up with bright-colored tank tops, shorts or joggers, muscle shirts, colorful leggings—anything that makes you look and feel good when you exercise.
Have a workout playlist
It would also help if you had some tunes to listen to when you exercise. In fact, according to the National Institution of Health, when these cyclists listened to fast-paced music, they actually cycled faster! Listening to your favorite tunes can distract your brain from the pain/tiredness for a bit.
Hold yourself accountable
Like I mentioned before, you’ll often try and talk your way out of things you don’t want to do. “Oh, it’s raining. Maybe that’s a sign I shouldn’t go.” Or “, I’m still sore; I’ll skip out on the exercise.”
Instead of making excuses to not exercise, make an excuse for why you exercise.
Tell yourself you’ve got an ideal weight to get to. Tell yourself you want to live longer. Tell yourself if you don’t exercise today, you may start pushing it till months from now. It’s hard to get back into a habit when you’ve fallen off the horse. So make it easier for yourself and don’t fall off. Hold yourself accountable.
Eat the frog!
If you’ve got a busy day ahead of you, start your days a little bit earlier and exercise. Eat the frog is an expression meaning, do the hardest thing first in the day so you can peacefully go about the rest of it. It’s okay if you cringe at even the thought of exercise. Well, the faster you do it, the less time you have to think about it.
Challenge yourself: always!
You can’t be doing the same stuff every time you exercise. For one, your body will get used to it. And secondly, it’s BORING. Find new workout activities. Use heavier weights if you’re focusing on muscle growth and retention. If you prefer HIIT cardio, shorten your rests. Do more active rests, and if you do active rests already, make it more challenging by doing burpees.
Need more workout ideas? Youtube is your best friend. Fitness Blender has some great workouts you can do at home. And Millionaire Hoy has some incredibly challenging cardio workouts as well. Switch up your routine with YouTube videos once a week.
Lastly, habit track. If you want to make exercise a habit, you kinda have to make sure you’re making it a habit. In a journal, track how many days you have been sticking to this plan. There are templates for habit tracking online that’ll allow you to color in some boxes if you want some visual motivation.
Making exercise a habit requires lots of discipline, tolerance, and commitment. But nothing good in life comes easy. Once you make it a habit, you’ll learn that you feel more energized every morning, more alert, and more appreciative of the things life has to offer. Like the ability to change your body’s health by just moving a bit more.