7 Secrets to Making Exercise a Daily Habit
Just about everyone and their grandma knows that daily exercise is crucial for staying healthy and fit… and yet, most people lead sedentary lives. The overused excuse of “not having enough time” is often deployed when faced with a situation where they need to account for their inactivity.
The truth of the matter is that there’s ALWAYS enough time if you look for it. There are thousands of busy CEOs and business people who always manage to find time to get their daily exercise and they have 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else.
If you stopped to think about it, a 30-minute exercise session is only 2 percent of your day. All you need is 3-5 sessions a week to stay healthy. That’s definitely manageable.
The key to working out religiously is to make exercise a habit… and this is how you do it.
1. Do what you love
It’s always better to engage in activity that you love doing. Dancing, swimming, cycling, etc. are all different types of cardio activities that yield health benefits. There are no rules stating that you must run for hours just to stay fit.
Very often, people engage in activities they dislike because everyone else is doing it. As a result, they dread working out and their minds are always conjuring up excuses to skip the workouts. Most of the time, the mind wins.
So, choose an activity you enjoy and you’ll be much more likely to do it eagerly.
2. Start slow
If you’ve been sedentary for years, don’t suddenly start with an hour long workout just because you decide to change your lifestyle. Instead, aim for a 10-15 minute session daily for about 5 days or so and ease yourself into training. You’ll prevent muscular aches and injuries too.
As time progresses, you can increase the duration and intensity of your workout sessions. Don’t make it difficult right off the bat or you’ll throw in the towel before you know it.
3. Same time daily, if possible
Find a time to workout that’s suitable for you. It can be in the morning, or afternoon or even the evening. There’s no right or wrong answer here. The only correct answer is one that fits in with your daily schedule.
Once you find a good time, try your best to work out at this time daily. This will ingrain the habit in your life and you’ll automatically go through the motions and exercise after a while. Even on days when you’re feeling lazy, the habit will carry you through and you’ll be able to fight the temptation of skipping the workout.
4. Have 2 days of rest a week
When you’re starting out, it’s best to have two rest days a week. Let your body rest and recover. As you progress, you can exercise 6 days a week. Ideally, its best to leave one day for complete rest.
If all you do is walk daily, then 7 days is fine. But it all depends on the intensity of your sessions.
5. Use a calendar
Have a calendar on your wall and make a big red checkmark on every day you go through your workout. The goal will be to have a chain of checkmarks with no breaks. Even your rest days get a checkmark because rest is a part of your training.
6. Keep an exercise journal
An exercise journal with before and after photos of yourself will show you how far you’ve come and keep you motivated. Write down the exercises you did, how you felt after the workout and so on.
Use the journal as a reference when trying to challenge yourself to do more. This journal will motivate and inspire you to stay on track.
7. Have a training/accountability partner
One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to get someone else to hold you accountable. You’ll be less likely to skip your workout if you know that your friend is going to ask you later whether you trained. No one wants to say no and look like a wish-washy individual. So, you’ll be much more likely to stay on track.
A training partner is even better. You will be much more likely to go to the gym if you know your friend is waiting for you there. You won’t want to let them down. It’s amazing how people treat others better than they do themselves… yet, they do. In this case, we’re using this contradiction to our benefit.
The 7 tips above will help you make exercise a daily part of your life. Once you stick to the program for 8-10 weeks, you’ll automatically feel like something is missing in your day when you don’t work out. The habit is now a part of you… and you’ll enjoy working out. From here on, it gets much easier and more enjoyable.