Getting an exercise routine in place is one of the things that people often think about doing, but never get around to it. If this is something you’ve been putting off — or if you have tried to start exercising and failed in the past — here are some tips that can get you past the initial hurdles and turn exercising into a habit.
1 – Pin down your motivation
Why exactly do you want to exercise? Like reading, eating healthy, and traveling, many set exercising as a goal out of a vague sense that it is “good for you”. And while all of the things mentioned above are indeed good, you’ll need more concrete reasoning if you want to stick to your exercise routine once you start it.
Think of the specific reason or reasons why you want to exercise. Maybe you want to look better, maybe you want to compete in some sport, or maybe you just want to be healthier and live longer. Whatever it is, try writing down your motivation and why it is important. It may sound silly, but you’ll be surprised by how much your view of a certain goal can change once you’re actually forced to express what you want in words.
2 – Set realistic short-term goals
It is perfectly fine to shoot for the stars, but as a beginner, your priority should be in the short-term challenges. You will want to set yourself goals you can toachieve in order to get the ball rolling with a streak of small successes.
Some good goals to have at this stage are enrolling in a gym, buying training equipment, discussing your goals with your trainer, trying different exercises to see which ones you like, etc. How you approach this stage will depend heavily on what your goals and resources are.
What’s important is that you don’t start off saying you’ll work out six days a week no matter what. That’s setting yourself up for failure, and even if you achieve that in the first week, you’re unlikely to be able to keep that pace. Start small, then start pushing yourself later.
3 – Reinforce the habit
Sources differ on how long it takes for something you do every day to become a habit, but two months is a good rule of thumb. This means that if you can survive your weekly exercise routine for 8 weeks, by week 9 it’ll be close to being as automatic as taking a shower or having your morning coffee. This means it will take much less energy — if any — to convince yourself to exercise every day.
Until then, you’ll want to do everything you can to reinforce that habit. Things like rewarding yourself after a good workout, using CBD concentrates to ease off post-workout soreness, and forming bonds with people who can encourage you to keep exercising can all be helpful.
It’s also helpful to engage with your exercise habit around the same time every day. As mentioned, you can’t and shouldn’t workout every day, but you can stretch and go on light walks on your rest days so you will be doing something physical with that time slot every day. Consistency is key.
4 – Keep fanning the flame
Both during the initial two-month period and later in your training life, it’s important to stay in touch with what keeps you going. How you do this is up to you — you might want to keep track of how much progress you’ve made towards your goal, keep motivational posters or images around the house, or just hang out with motivated fitness enthusiasts who can give you a boost or energy.
Whatever you choose, just remember that motivation needs fuel to stay strong. If you spend a long while not thinking about why you exercise or if you don’t see yourself making any progress towards your goals, you will have a hard time keeping your exercise routine on track.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
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