Most of us know that we should be working out regularly, but it can be tough to make it a habit. After all, it takes time, effort and motivation to get to the gym or go for a run, and it's easy to find excuses not to do it! Maybe you've tried in the past to start working out, with all the intentions of making it a regular habit, only to fall off the wellness bandwagon a few weeks (or even days) later?
If so, don't worry - you're not alone. Even if you've been unsuccessful with building a workout habit in the past, the good news is that there's still hope. Forming new habits can be challenging, but you have the power to make it happen! With a little mindful planning and effort, you can make working out a regular part of your life. Your physical wellbeing and mental health will thank you for it in the long run!
How to Make Working Out a Habit
Incorporating exercise into your routine is not only an excellent habit to have but can also offer a whole range of health benefits. After all, getting physical and moving your body is proven to boost your wellness, mood and focus, help you sleep better at night and even fend off certain illnesses, such as heart disease.
You can do all sorts of things to make working out a habit. You just need to find what works best for you and your lifestyle! Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Pick a Time of Day That Works for You
The most important part of making working out a habit is finding a time of day that you can commit to working out regularly. If mornings are best for exercise and to boost your wellbeing, aim to work out in the morning before you get too busy.
Or, if evenings are better, schedule your workouts for after work or any other commitments you may have. When you've found a time that works for you, do your best to stick to it as closely as possible. You may need to set a reminder for yourself or put it in your calendar, but try to make working out at this time a priority.
Make Gradual Progression
If starting a brand-new workout routine feels daunting, don't worry! You don't have to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Instead, start small by committing to just 10 or 15 minutes of exercise each day, then increase the length of time and intensity of your workouts slowly. As time goes on, you'll soon be able to sustain an extended session more comfortably.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
When thinking about adding a workout routine to your life, be sure to choose an activity that you actually enjoy doing. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, odds are you won't want to stick with it long-term. Trying to force ourselves to do something we don't want will only negatively affect our wellness and mental health.
Whether it's going on brisk walks around your neighbourhood or taking an aerobics class at your local gym, once you find something you like, dedicate it to a specific time slot and make it part of your weekly routine. Before you know it, it will start to feel like second nature!
Set Realistic Goals
When we say realistic goals, we aren't talking about aiming to lose 10 pounds in a week or running a marathon if you've never run competitively before. These goals are not only unrealistic, but they're also setting you up for disappointment and are more likely to make you give up on your new habit altogether.
Instead, focus on setting smaller, more achievable goals that will help you work gradually towards a larger end goal. For example, if you want to start running, begin by aiming to run for just 5-10 minutes each day, then increase the duration as you get more practice.
You could also set goals like "I will go to the gym 3 times a week" or "I will walk to work 2 days a week." Whatever your goals may be, make sure they're something you can realistically commit to and build upon over time.
Be Patient With Yourself
When forming a new habit, we must ensure we are strict with ourselves and don't get too lenient. It is very easy to think, 'I have worked out 5 days this week. I can afford to miss a day'. The truth is, if we allow ourselves to make excuses and break our routine even just once, it becomes so much easier to do it again and again until we've completely fallen off the path to wellness.
But with that being said, it's just as important to be patient with yourself and understand that there will be times when things don't go as planned. Maybe you miss a day (or two) here and there, or you can't find the motivation to work out as often as you'd like. Remember, this is okay! These types of setbacks are standard and to be expected. It is important not to let them hinder your progress or discourage you from continuing your new habit. Just start back up where you left off and keep going!
Do It the Way You Want
Many people love to find a workout buddy who helps them to stay accountable and on track. If this workout style sounds good to you, then go for it! Whereas some people prefer to go to it alone, and that's perfectly fine too.
If you feel like you're being forced into working out a certain way or you're not enjoying yourself, then there's a good chance you won't want to stick with it for very long. So, exercise however you like and enjoy your new healthy habit!
Final Thoughts on How to Make Working Out a Habit
Building a new habit can be tough, but it's definitely not impossible. Just remember to be patient with yourself, set realistic goals, and find a wellness activity you enjoy doing. By following the ideas listed in this article, you'll be well on your way to making working out a regular part of your life!
Remember, the best thing you can do when starting any wellness journey is to just start! Don't delay it any longer; go with the flow until you find something that positively impacts your wellbeing and mental health. You can do it!