I've been often asked how I'm able to keep up with exercise and go to the gym five days a week... and my answer is clear: "You need to make exercise a habit"
If you want to succeed, to get the body you've dreamed of, or simply to get healthier and work on yourself, you must make exercise a habit.
In this post, I'll cover 7 easy and effective ways to make that happen: make exercise a habit
How to Build Good Habits
You need habits. Humans ask for repeated actions to synchronize your body with nature and the environment you are surrounded by.
It's often hard to build habits in a spontaneous and stressful society as the one we experience nowadays. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.
If you get to understand the characteristics of a good habit, making it happen will be a much smoother road to run through.
A good habit must be attractive, easy, obvious, and satisfying.
It must be the "how" to cover a "why" you want to improve in your life. It must improve your life, get you closer to your goals, and adhere to your lifestyle.
How to Make Exercise a Habit
Exercise is a long term race. The main benefits of exercise come on the long term.
You don't feel healthier, stronger, or leaner right away. It's the "doing everyday" what gets you there.
In the next 5 min, 7 easy ways to make exercise a habit.
Follow the 2-Minutes Rule
“When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.” - James Clear
Make a trigger that takes less than 2 minutes from start to end.
The trigger leads to action. If the trigger is easy enough, your brain won't have any problem reaciving and acting in response.
Easy triggers increase the chance of taking action. Prepare your gym bag and leave it in your door. When gym time comes, you will most likely grab the already prepared bag and hit the gym.
Follow the Same Ritual.
Winston Churchill was a tremendously busy man. But even with all the things he got to do, he still had time to enjoy life. He knew how to save energy when energy wasn't required. How to sit down when he didn't need to be standing, or how to sleep when noone asked for his presence.
Following a ritual clears your mind and prevents your brain from thinking about what to do.
Tell your brain you are going to th gym even before that happens. Motivate yourself.
Training your mind is the first step to train your body. If your mind is willing to hit the gym, the workout will be a blast.
Find your ritual and stick to it. Listen to your favourite music while having a coffee, prepare your workout, walk the dog...
It doesn't matter what you do, but do it
Be Concise and Precise
Don't play with your brain. Don't mess around, and say exactly what you'll be doing.
Specify when, how and what you are going to exercise. Your brain will catch as an order, and store it on the "to-do" list.
I'm going to do [exercise] on [day] at [time] in/at [place]
The more specific you are, the easier for your brain to catch the order. Write it down and put it somewhere easy to see.
Start Very Small
Start with the minimum possible. Go for a 5 min run, do two exercise at the gym, swim 400m... The smaller you start, the easier will be to adhere.
How many times have you tried to run but given up on the second day because the first one was too tiring?
Make Slow Progress
You've started small... now you have the entire journey to improve.
Make slow but continuous progress. Increase intensity and/or duration of your workouts. Make sure you are improving.
The changes will be so small that you won't even notice; and that's the whole point of this.
Don't disturb your body. Keep it simple, and slowly progress towards your goal. Once again, give yourself time and be patient.
Commit to the Others
We are social beings; we need the others. You like it or not, what they think of us matter... a lot.
Tell your friends and family you are going to the gym. Create commitment.
If you end up failing to what you said, you'll betray them. You'll be the "loser with not enough willpower to go to the gym"
Do you want to be that one? Cause I don't
Because there's no clear reward of doing exercise, you must give yourself one. Take a hot and relaxing bath, make the meal you like the most, call your girlfriend,...
If you know there's a reward coming, you'll do whatever it takes to deserve it.
Setting a reward gives sense to your workout and pushes you to give it all.
In the long term, habits are key. If you want to succeed on your fitness and health goals, you need to make exercise a habit.
In this post we've seen how to make exercise a habit. Daily actions to do to make exercise more attractive, satisfying, easy and obvious.