How to make working out a habit?

So often I hear people struggling to get into an exercise routine. I have and have had clients that start with the greatest intentions and are all in and then after a week or two they miss a day, then miss two and then feel like they have failed and need to give up.

Like everything it takes time and your best chance of success is to create a habit of it, like with everything else. I am going to share some of my tactics to help you create a habit of it too.

1. Do not skip a workout

The right behaviours are developed through consistency, not frequency. Instead of going all or nothing like most of us tend to do, start small by saying you will go to gym once that week. Setup your schedule and make sure you never skip that one day. After a few weeks add another day, then after a month add another. The point here is to ensure you are getting into a habit and not allowing yourself to fail even if it is only once a week.

When setting up your exercise habit, ensure that no matter what you will achieve it. It does not matter if it is 1 day per week or 7 days per week. The important thing is that you will never skip it. You cannot set up a habit if you are not consistent.

2. Exercise in the morning

Yes I know that everyone is not a morning person especially when it comes to exercise but there are a few reasons I say you need to do this to create that habit.

From after work drinks to children’s soccer games or having to work late. These commitments can be tough to get out of. A lot less happens in the mornings and instead of having to resist temptations all you have to do is get out of bed and go to gym.

By the end of the day you may be tired or stressed or just not in the mood to go to gym. However in the morning you can create the right environment that will help you get there.

You may know you will be sleepy and lack the necessary motivation so have your gym bag packed, make your favourite breakfast, have your running shoes or put your coffee on a timer ready for you. These cues will automatically trigger your body to begin your morning routine of going to gym and help create that habit.

Be it from a stressful workday, or just having had a hard day. We all have those days where we just don’t have the energy to workout. If we have to use our willpower to just get through difficult tasks all days we will have no energy left to make it to the gym.

3. What is your ‘why’?

By having a genuine reason why you want to exercise will make it easier creating that habit. Thinking about your purpose causes the area of your brain that is responsible for your long term goals to activate. This gives you a rush of willpower as you begin to picture yourself achieving what you’re setting out to do.

It helps motivate you and makes that workout a lot more enjoyable as you see yourself getting closer to that goal.

4. Track your progress

We all have a natural desire for self-improvement. By writing down how many kilometres you ran this week will make you naturally want to run more next week. Write down the weight you lift so that next time you will be able to better yourself and lift heavier.