3 Strategies to Make Your Exercise Habit Last Forever
We’ve all been there, ready to take action, ready to get fit. With the best intentions we shoot off…new activewear on point, gym membership card attached to keyring, chocolate banned from the house.
All of a sudden, a month has passed and you’re no closer to being that super fit person you intended to be, because life got in the way, excuses got the better of you, and …well…chocolate!
Low and behold the weather starts warming up, we think of ourselves in a summer dress, and we start the process all over again.
You’ve seen those people out there who exercise without a second thought on a regular basis, who don’t find it hard to get their trainers on, who exude confidence in the gym or while pounding the pavement.
How do they do it?
Why don’t they make excuses?
Here are three things they are doing…that you are probably not:
1. They don’t rely on motivation. They rely on a habit.
I am a Personal Trainer, so naturally you would expect I am full of motivation to exercise. Wrong. I simply exercise out of habit.
So how can you create a habit that lasts the distance? Start small, and keep it consistent. Move every single day with purpose, even if it is only a few minutes.
If you can, attach exercise to another habit you do every single day, such as getting out of bed. By attaching a new healthy habit to an existing one, it makes it easier for your brain to process quickly – making less time for excuses!
2. They know WHY they are doing it. And it’s a damn good reason!
If you are exercising to lose weight, tell me…what happens once you lose the weight? Do you still have a reason to exercise?
Skinny people are not automatically happy.
Whatever your reason for wanting to exercise – ask yourself how it will add VALUE to your life.
Maybe a lower risk of heart disease, better energy to play with your kids, feeling more comfortable to socialise with friends and family, being happier in your ability to regulate emotions.
These are the things that will truly add value to your life, and these reasons will keep you going well beyond losing weight. If you have a good enough reason, you won’t have excuses.
3. They don’t try to change all the things at once
Too often when we decide to do something about our health, we try to change everything about the way we live.
What happens next is, quite frankly, we feel like crap! Our bodies shut down because they are being forced into extreme discomfort.
Some discomfort is good, because it encourages our bodies and minds to adapt to new situations. But the changes will not last if you push yourself beyond your limits.
Choose 8-12 SMALL healthy habits you could implement in your life – for example, drinking 2L of water a day, or doing 10 pushups when you wake. Then introduce one new habit a week. In 8-12 weeks your health will be completely overhauled without any extreme measures.
A final thought:
If you think about what you’ve done in the past, and it hasn’t worked, change it. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
If you’ve ‘failed’ so many times it makes you miserable thinking about trying again, remember: You cannot fail unless you give up. So as Dory from Finding Nemo would say “Just keep swimming…”