How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit

How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit

Introduction

A daily exercise routine, even something as small as 10 minutes every day, can dramatically improve your health and your energy levels. But if you’re like most people, you have a hard time making it to the gym or going on runs every day. So how do you make exercise become a daily habit? This guide offers some tips that will help you get into the daily exercise routine you deserve!

1) Set realistic goals

Unless you’re already in great shape, setting unrealistic goals will only lead to frustration. Instead of training for a marathon your first week of exercise, start small. Figure out what you enjoy doing and aim for 30 minutes per day, three times per week. Keep it up—and build on it over time—and you’ll soon be well on your way to having an exercise routine that can change your life.

2) Prepare your environment

Before starting any exercise program, you should make sure your environment is conducive to exercising. This includes setting up an area in your home that’s just for working out. And, you should set time aside every day (ideally first thing in the morning) so you don’t have an excuse not to work out. If it’s easier, try working out with a friend who also has similar goals so you can motivate each other and compare notes on how things are going with your respective workouts. For those of us that struggle with motivation and keeping on track, having someone else involved in our exercise routine helps tremendously.

3) Use technology as an aid

Technology can be an incredibly helpful tool when it comes to living healthier, more active lives. If you have your phone with you at all times, why not use it as a pedometer? Apps like Moves and Argus (both available for iPhone and Android) are easy to use (especially if you’re lazy), and they keep track of how many steps you take in a day. They’ll even remind you if you haven’t hit your step goal yet! And if that isn’t enough motivation, most also sync with social media accounts so your friends can cheer you on (or make fun of you). You might be surprised at just how simple small changes can make big impacts.

4) Treat yourself as you would a friend

We may forget that we are our own best friend. We would never leave our friends hanging and go days without seeing them, but when it comes to ourselves, we can go days without even leaving our house. If you’re trying to make exercise part of your daily routine, be sure that you’re treating yourself as well as you would treat your best friend. This means don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t work out exactly like you planned. Instead, just know that today was better than yesterday and look forward to tomorrow being even better. You are in control of changing your life! Don’t expect any less from yourself than what you would from your closest friend.

5) The power of self-talk

Self-talk is talking to yourself. But it isn’t just random babbling in your head, it’s actually communicating with your subconscious mind. You might already be familiar with affirmations—simply put, they are positive self-talk that you repeat aloud or in your head. For example, I have endless potential and I am free from fear. Think of self-talk as like an affirmation on steroids; when you use self-talk effectively, your mind will do most of the work for you. Every time you go through a stressful situation or make yourself vulnerable by taking action (which are often things people run away from), give yourself some positive feedback and let your subconscious work out all of the details.

6) Practice self-care after working out

To make exercise a daily habit, you need to ensure that you aren’t accidentally sabotaging your hard work. For example, if you like working out early in the morning but it makes it difficult for you to get up, consider shifting your schedule so that there’s time after work or school for your workout. Working out at lunch can help break up an otherwise monotonous day. If taking evening classes are too much of a time commitment, ask friends if they want to exercise together; going out with someone else means an increase in accountability and can be just as effective as attending classes.

7) Don’t overthink it

Exercising for 30 minutes at least five days per week isn’t hard. But sometimes when we look at our schedules, all of those tasks and responsibilities can seem daunting. So we don’t exercise—or not as much as we should. Break it down and think about what you need to get done on a day-to-day basis. You have time for everything, but some things are more important than others.

8) Get social support

A strong support system is key when it comes to starting—and sticking with—any kind of exercise routine. If you have friends who exercise regularly, offer to join them in their workouts. As an added bonus, making new friends can be great for your health: Research shows that social interactions may provide a natural high and improve physical wellness by increasing life satisfaction, stress reduction and happiness. You’ll also find it easier to stay motivated if you exercise with someone else because you can encourage each other when one of you needs a break or some encouragement.

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