In order to take on a new exercise routine, we have to turn it into a daily habit. Yet, it’s said that creating a new habit takes an average of 66 days - so how do we stick to something for so long without abandoning it? Luckily, scientists and trainers alike have studied the means necessary to inspire the motivation behind habit creation. So what does it take? Check out the list below for some guidelines on making exercise into a daily habit and changing your life for good!
- Set a Time (Ideally in the Morning): In order to create a habit, you need to do the same thing at approximately the same time every day (think: brushing your teeth). Chances are you prefer showering in either the morning or night, and you’ll most likely feel the same way about working out. However, keep in mind: science shows that exercising right after you wake up is probably your best bet. By getting to sleep and waking up earlier, you can get your workout done first thing in the morning so you don’t have to worry about it later (while keeping the same amount of time in your day)! Plus, you’ll most likely feel more motivated throughout the day to get your work done and eat healthier. It’s a win-win.
- Start Small: Incorporating exercise into your daily life doesn’t mean you have to devote two hours every day to an intense workout. It’s okay to start small, especially if you haven’t been working out much in the past. Starting out with even 10 minutes of cardio every day for the first week, and then upping to 20 or 30 minutes whenever you feel ready is not only okay, but recommended! Overdoing it when you’re just starting out could potentially spoil your efforts, so don’t be afraid to start small.
- Do What You Love: Hate running? Then don’t do it! There are thousands of ways to exercise, so don’t use working out as a punishment by forcing yourself to partake in a specific type of exercise that you dislike. Sure, cardio is important, but running is only one way to do it! If you love dancing, try zumba! If you love being outside, take up bike riding! Feeling stressed? Maybe yoga is for you. Discovering exercise that you love will make it easy to make a habit of working out - because it’s something you’ll look forward to!
- Don’t Skip Days, But Take Restorative Ones: Sure, rest days are important, and choosing one day a week to rest is encouraged - as long as it’s only one day. Once you start choosing to randomly skip days because you’re too tired or “don’t have time,” creating a habit becomes nearly impossible. A great alternative would be to opt for restorative days once or twice a week in which you choose a gentler workout like yoga instead of intense cardio or strength training. You’ll still get your body moving, but in a way that keeps your body healthy!
- Get a Buddy: Whether it’s your coworker, best friend, or even a stranger, vowing to devote yourself to a workout buddy makes you less likely to skip a day. Joining fitness studios, gyms, or classes can help you meet new people to share your experience with. Additionally, you may even consider an instructor or trainer. You’d be surprised how easy it is to become dedicated to another person - even easier than becoming dedicated to yourself. That's accountability at work!
- Invest in Fitness: You don’t have to spend thousands - or even hundreds - of dollars, but sometimes investing in your exercise can work as great motivation for habit creation. Whether you join a gym, buy a few fitness classes, or even purchase a brand new pair of sneakers, studies show that investing your money into your fitness makes you more likely to stick to it.
- Write it Down: Statistically speaking, it’s extremely likely that the most successful individuals you know have one thing in common: they write down their goals. Writing down what you want to achieve makes you considerably more likely to actually do so. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get fit, or get healthy, writing down “I will make working out a daily habit” will make it happen. Once you get started, record what you do each day and for how long; you may begin to notice patterns of feeling great after certain workouts. Plus, seeing all that you’ve completed is super motivating - track your progress and watch yourself get healthy!
- Change Your Eating Habits: Changing your eating habits doesn’t have to mean counting calories. However, switching to more naturally-produced foods (as opposed to processed foods) will only help you see better results from your new exercise habits. Simply considering what you eat before you work out can make a huge impact on your success! Adding more superfoods into your diet like Chia Seeds and Beet Juice Powder can provide you with increased energy, and smoothies made with plant-based protein powders can help you build muscle even faster.