Starting an exercise habit is an excellent decision for improving your physical and mental well-being. However, getting started can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the fitness world. Don’t worry, though – with the right approach and a solid plan, you can develop a sustainable exercise routine that yields long-lasting results. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step process on how to begin an exercise habit.
Stay tuned for more in this Life Skills Series. I will cover everything from personal skills, health and safety, physical habits, vehicle maintenance, home skills, professional skills, and financial skills. If you missed the first post, check out the information on how to use a calendar/schedule here. Today we will cover: how to begin an exercise habit. Let’s get started!
How to Begin an Exercise Habit:
- Set Clear and Realistic Goals: Begin by setting clear and achievable goals that align with your fitness aspirations. Whether it’s losing weight, gaining strength, or improving overall health, defining your objectives will provide focus and motivation throughout your journey.
- Choose an Activity You Enjoy: Find an exercise or physical activity that you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s running, dancing, swimming, or cycling, engaging in something you love increases the likelihood of sticking to your routine. Experiment with various activities until you discover what brings you joy and fulfillment.
- Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity: Avoid the temptation to overexert yourself right from the start. Begin with manageable exercise sessions and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. This approach minimizes the risk of injuries and allows your body to adapt to the demands of physical activity.
- Schedule Your Workouts: Treat exercise as an important appointment and prioritize it in your daily schedule. Consistency is key when developing an exercise habit, so allocate specific time slots for your workouts. Consider exercising in the morning to avoid potential conflicts or excuses later in the day.
- Find an Accountability Partner: Having a workout buddy or accountability partner can significantly boost your motivation and commitment. Team up with a friend, family member, or join a fitness community to share your goals, progress, and experiences. The support and encouragement you receive will help you stay on track and enjoy the process.
- Make it a Habit: Consistency is crucial when establishing a long-term exercise habit. Aim to exercise at least three to five times a week initially, and gradually increase the frequency as you progress. Treat exercise as a non-negotiable part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth or having a meal.
- Track Your Progress: Monitoring your progress is essential to stay motivated and recognize your achievements. Keep a workout journal, use fitness apps, or wear a fitness tracker to record your workouts, track your performance, and celebrate milestones along the way. Seeing your progress will inspire you to keep going and strive for continuous improvement. You can get my Free Printable Goal Planning Page here. You can also get my Free Printable Fitness Planner here.
Now you know how to begin an exercise habit. Embarking on an exercise habit is an empowering journey that can positively transform your physical and mental well-being. By setting clear goals, choosing enjoyable activities, starting slowly, scheduling workouts, finding support, and prioritizing consistency, you’ll be well on your way to developing a sustainable exercise routine that lasts. Remember, the key to success lies in patience, dedication, and the willingness to adapt your approach as you progress. Read on for tips on how to stick with your new exercise habit.
How do I stick with an exercise plan?
Sticking with an exercise plan can be challenging, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can develop the discipline and consistency needed to make exercise a long-term habit. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:
- Set Realistic and Specific Goals: Clearly define your fitness goals and make them realistic and achievable. Whether it’s running a 5K, losing a certain amount of weight, or improving your overall strength, having specific targets will give you something to work towards and keep you motivated.
- Find Enjoyable Activities: Choose exercises and activities that you genuinely enjoy. When you find something you like doing, it becomes easier to look forward to your workouts. Experiment with different types of exercises, classes, or sports until you find what brings you joy and makes you excited to exercise.
- Create a Schedule and Stick to It: Treat exercise as a priority by scheduling dedicated time for it in your daily or weekly routine. Consistency is key to forming a habit, so choose a time slot that works best for you and commit to it. Treat your workout appointments as non-negotiable and avoid skipping them unless absolutely necessary.
- Mix Up Your Routine: Avoid monotony by diversifying your workouts. Trying new exercises, incorporating different equipment, or exploring various fitness classes can keep things fresh and prevent boredom. Variety not only makes your workouts more enjoyable but also challenges your body in new ways, leading to better results.
- Set Short-Term and Long-Term Rewards: Reward yourself for achieving milestones and sticking to your exercise plan. Set short-term rewards for completing weekly or monthly goals, such as treating yourself to a massage or buying a new workout outfit. Additionally, establish long-term rewards that align with your ultimate fitness objectives, such as a vacation or a special purchase.
- Find an Accountability Partner: Seek out a workout buddy or accountability partner who shares your fitness goals. Having someone to exercise with can provide motivation, support, and friendly competition. You can hold each other accountable, celebrate achievements together, and provide encouragement during challenging times.
- Track Your Progress: Keep a record of your workouts, progress, and achievements. This can be done through a workout journal, a fitness app, or a simple tracking system. Tracking your progress not only allows you to see how far you’ve come but also provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to continue pushing forward. You can get my Free Printable Goal Planning Page here. You can also get my Free Printable Fitness Planner here.
- Focus on the Benefits: Remind yourself of the many benefits of exercise, both physical and mental. Regular physical activity improves your energy levels, reduces stress, boosts mood, enhances sleep quality, and promotes overall well-being. By focusing on these positive outcomes, you’ll be more likely to stay committed to your exercise plan.
- Be Flexible and Adapt: Life can be unpredictable, and there may be times when your exercise routine gets disrupted. Rather than giving up entirely, be flexible and adapt to the circumstances. Modify your workouts, find alternative activities, or adjust your schedule as needed. The key is to keep moving forward and not let temporary setbacks derail your progress.
- Stay Positive and Practice Self-Compassion: Finally, maintain a positive mindset and practice self-compassion throughout your fitness journey. Acknowledge that there will be ups and downs, and it’s okay to have off days or miss a workout occasionally. Avoid self-criticism and instead focus on the overall progress you’re making and the positive impact exercise has on your life.
By implementing these strategies and staying committed to your exercise plan, you’ll increase your chances of sticking with it for the long term. Remember, consistency and perseverance are key, and the rewards of a regular exercise routine are well worth the effort.
Read more about how to develop a fitness program here.