The problem with trying to make exercise a habit is something that we have all faced, most times we try to exercise 3 or 4 times a week and that makes creating a new exercise habit difficult. The reason is that the more consistent an action is, the more likely it is to be a habit. Do a variety of activities you enjoy. And remember, there is no rule that says you have to go to a gym or buy equipment. TUNDE OGUNTOLA writes.
Develop a ritual to make starting easier.
Habits are behaviors that you repeat over and over again, which means they are also behaviors that you start over and over again. In other words, if you don’t consistently get started, then you won’t have a habit. In many ways, building new habits is simply an exercise in getting started time after time.
This means that if you can find a way to make getting started easier, then you can find a way to make building a habit easier. This is why rituals and routines are so important.
Start with an exercise that is ridiculously small.
The best way to make exercise a habit is to start with an exercise that is so easy that you can do it even when you are running low on willpower and motivation. In the words of Leo Babauta, start with something that is so easy you can’t say no.
Here’s one strategy that you can use in the beginning: The two-minute rule.
It’s very simple: focus on finding a way to get started in just two minutes rather than worrying about your entire workout.
Focus on the habit first and the results later.
The typical approach to diet and exercise is to focus on results first. Most people start with some type of goal. “I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 4 months.” Or, “I want to squat 50 pounds more six months from now.”
I think this is the wrong approach. It’s better to focus on the system rather than the goal.
Here are some other practical suggestions:
Do a variety of activities, such as walking, running, tennis, cycling or aerobics classes, as this will ensure you can exercise regardless of the weather or time of day.
Commit to another person. It’s easier to exercise with someone else and the social aspect of exercise becomes important.
It is more difficult to let a friend down if you’ve agreed to go for a walk.
Make exercise a priority. It has to be a non-negotiable, no matter how busy you are.
Another advantage in making exercise non-negotiable is that friends and family learn that it’s part of your identity. This means they give up saying things like, “Why don’t you take it easy today?”
Exercise first thing in the morning to fit in with family life. Consider getting up before the children to exercise. Many experts also agree that exercising in the morning is best. Exercise, have a shower and you can feel energised for the day.
Alternatively, exercise on your way home from work. This is the next best thing to exercising irst thing in the morning. Take your gym bag with you, don’t go home first, so you avoid the temptation to stay at home.
Exercise even when you’re “too tired.” The chances are you’ll feel better after exercising. This is because exercise energises us.
Keep a record of your activity. Write down the things that are important to you. It could be how much time you exercise each day, how many steps you walked, how far you ran or cycled, what you weighed etc.
Some people make a game of it. Some runners calculate how many miles away a particular place is from their home and then work out how far they run in an average week, setting a target date for “arriving” at this destination.
Identify signs that you are making progress. It’s great when your clothes fit better, you can lift heavier weights or exercise longer without getting exhausted.
Walk – with a pedometer – or a dog. If you enjoy walking and haven’t exercised for a while, 10 minutes three times a day will give you 30 minutes. Use a pedometer, which records the steps you have taken, and work up to at least 10,000 steps a day.
Reward yourself. Are you telling yourself that you don’t deserve a reward for something you should be doing anyway – or that once you can zip up your jeans without lying on the bed, that will be reward enough? If so, that’s not very inspiring.
However, experts say that making behaviour changes is hard, and rewards motivate. So decide on a goal and a reward, and work towards it. You might buy yourself a DVD you want after sticking to your fitness plan for one month. Or you could buy a new pair of shoes when you achieve 5,000 steps a d