I think everyone would like to live a healthier life-style, and I don’t have to sit here and tell you all the benefits of exercise. At this point there is enough evidence and information to convince anyone that exercise should be a part of everyone’s life. The only problem is making it a habit, everyone tries but needless to say anyone who’s been to a gym in January knows that the crowds will be gone by February. So, bellow I’m going to share with you how to make exercise a habit:
- Decide – Yes!, as obvious as it may seem, you have to decide. You have to decide with your emotions and your mind. Many times you try to make exercise a part of your life but even though your mind would say “This is it! I’m going to do it” your heart maybe wasn’t all in. Maybe you worried about how long you will last, or cringe at the thought of how much work it would be, but when you do finally decide, you’ll have to accept a few things:
- This is going to be really hard at first, but it will get easier.
- This is going to be a new life-style, don’t look forward to stopping.
- Accept that you are capable of doing it.
- Accept that you won’t always feel like working out, but you still will.
- Accept that your life will be different permanently.
- Accept that no one cares about your progress, you have to do it for you.
- Start small – What I mean is that sometimes the thought of all the work involved in making exercise a habit can be overwhelming. Specially for someone who has never made a habit before. So, start with making something else that you can see yourself doing indefinitely a habit. An example would be, if you don’t already make your bed every morning, start there. Make it a point to make your bed everyday. It’s really not that hard, and over time the psychological effect it will have on you will make you feel more empowered, and give you strength to take on bigger challenges.
- Get a Calendar – Once you really gave it deep thought and decided with your heart and mind, you are ready for a calendar. This step is a must, its too easy to lose track of your goals when you have no idea where you are. What I mean is that if you don’t have a calendar a week can feel like a month. Also, simply the act of crossing out every day, each day, will give you perspective. For example in my own personal experience after The Third Week I would always get distracted and lose track. After I got a calendar, I was able to see that it’s only been three weeks, and I knew what three weeks feels like. Allowing myself to feel three weeks gave me the motivation to keep pushing past it. Lastly, if you miss a few days you can always go back cross out the days you missed and start where you left off. Remember, you are making it a habit so missing thee days after three weeks of exercising is not that big a deal, as long as you get back on the horse right away.
- Show Up – This is the hardest part, because this part gets the most internal resistance. You will experience more resistance the moment before you start to exercise than once you actually start working out. So, this is why I suggest you don’t even get a gym membership just yet. First make sure you set aside time to exercise. Just do some push ups, pulls ups, squats, whatever you’re able to do at home. If, you’re too tempted to relax at home, go outside and exercise there. The point here is to get yourself used to the idea that every day you will get off your butt and make yourself do some work. After a few weeks you can consider getting a gym membership, specially if you’re not hungry for some real gains. The last thing you want is to waste your money. If you think that getting a gym membership will motivate you to exercise, you might be lying to yourself. If you can’t get yourself to do a few push ups for a couple weeks at home, then odds are you won’t get yourself to the gym.
- Document Everything – Get yourself a little notebook or the note app on your phone. Whatever you chose make sure you document everything. If you do ten push ups on Tuesday, write it down. As you continue working out you will quickly realize that your body is no longer feeling sore. You will notice that each time you will have to do more reps and sets to feel a little sore. This actually happens after the first or second week. That’s why it’s important to document everything, so each time you can push yourself a little harder. Also, If you make it past the fifth week mark you have reached a benchmark. While it’s not the same for everyone, at this point you should begin to enjoy and even crave exercise. Listen to your body, and at this point you are more likely to get yourself to the gym.
- Don’t Stop – I think this one is also obvious, but still worth talking about. After 4 days of not working out your body will begin to fall back onto the old patterns. You will begin to feel less motivated to work out, and you’re body won’t crave it as much. Therefore, as a rule of thumb don’t allow three days to pass without working out. I know in life things come up, but if you find yourself on the fourth day, remind yourself that if you don’t exercise that very same day or the next, it will only get harder to get back on the horse.
I’ll leave you with this: Your body is your machine, and you only get one, there are no spare parts and no trade ins. You can be a powerful well oiled machine that plows through life with strength and grace, or you can continue making excuses. Only you can make that choice, only you have the power to change your life.