5 Tips For Making Exercise a Habit
Creating habits and sticking to them is hard and something a lot of people struggle with in terms of fitness. Motivation comes and go's and sometimes it can feel impossible to balance exercise with daily life. I want to try and make this easier for you, so here are my top 5 tips for making exercise a habit. All 5 are methods I've used myself.
1. Exercise 'snacks'
There's no rule to say you have to get it all done in one go. When you’re having a busy day, break it up into 10minute snacks of exercise. Even if you just get one 10minute snack done that's still more than if you write off exercising at all at the start of the day. You could fit one in before work, one on your lunch break and one in the evening. And there you have it 30mins of exercise done.
Also, exercise snacks don’t have to be super high intensity if you don’t want them to be. You could go for a short walk, move through some stretches and mobility drills or even just run up and down the stairs. Any kind of movement that makes you feel good.
2. Have a flexible plan
This one’s great if you’re like me and love a plan but are pretty terrible at sticking to it. Instead of writing yourself out a strict plan of what you’re going to do, plan a few different workouts, write down what days and roughly what times (i.e. Monday morning, Wednesday Evening & Friday Lunch Time) you’re going to exercise and then choose which workout you fancy doing on that day. Yes, if you’re working towards specific goals you may need more structure than that. But if your aim is to start making exercise a long-term habit and start to feel fitter and healthier, then a flexible plan is enough. The more complex stuff can always come later.
3. Forget about what's trendy
X only worked for X because they enjoyed it and stayed consistent. If you try it and don’t enjoy it then you’re not going to be consistent at it for long, thus you won’t get the results you’re after. Therefore, the key is to find a form of exercise you look forward to so you stick at it week on week. And if you start to get a little tired of it, try something new.
It’s also important to note that workouts popular on social media aren’t necessarily popular because they’re more effective. It’s because they grab your attention and gain a lot of engagement which in turn helps the individual grow they’re social media. This isn’t too say they’re bad workouts (albeit there are some questionable ones), just that they aren’t the only type that provide results. A prime example of this is HIIT. Yes, it can be very effective, but so can LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio and other types of training. So, choose what you enjoy and can see yourself still doing in a year’s time and that is what you’ll see results from.
For more information on HIIT and other workout structures check out this post: EMOM, AMRAP, HIIT - What Are They?
4. Don’t compare your journey to somebody else’s
It’s difficult not to compare in a time where everybody is posting their lives online. But it’s important to remember you’re not seeing the whole picture and even if you are, you are not that person and you are never going to be that person. Every individual is unique. Their body will adapt to stimulus differently, will require different amounts of food to feel satisfied and energised, will enjoy doing different things and will be at different stages in their lives This means even if you eat and train exactly the same as somebody else you will still look and feel different to how they do.
The saying comparison is the thief of joy really is true. Health and fitness doesn’t have one look so don’t let the fact you’re not getting the same results as someone else discourage you and break your habit of moving. Instead focus on yourself and the progress you are making. Follow a variety of people on social media to reinforce the idea that health comes in all different shapes and sizes. And finally, stop waiting for the end to goal to be happy and start enjoying the process.
5. Stop telling yourself you've fallen off track and will start again Monday!
Firstly, eating a bit more or skipping a workout isn't falling off track it's life. Some days your body will require more food and some days it’ll feel too exhausted to move. Neither of these are failures, it’s your body telling you what it needs at the moment of time. Your fitness journey won’t be linear; it’ll go up and down with many bumps in the road. When you stop thinking of each of these bumps as failing with the need to start again, you’ll find it much easier to pick up where you left off with a positive outlook.
Secondly, there's no time like the present, don't wait for a new day, week, month or year to start just start now. Things don’t suddenly change on a Monday; you won’t suddenly become motivated or have better chances of success. Starting is the hardest part, so don’t put it off for a different day. Use that desire you have to start, to start right now.
And that’s it, my 5 tips for making exercise a habit. Let me know if you try any or have any tips of your own in the comments below. I love to hear how you balance fitness in your life.