Like most people, you’ve probably tried to exercise consistently in the past. Maybe you started hitting the gym with a friend or began doing a bodyweight routine at home.
Whatever the case, you managed to be consistent for a while, and things were going well. But then, as it always happens, you lost interest, gave up, and went back to old behaviors.
But why does this happen? Why is it so difficult to establish new behaviors? More importantly, what can we do to make working out a habit?
Start With Something Small
One of the biggest mistakes people make when making a change is reforming too much right from the start. In the context of working out, beginners often pick a demanding and high-frequency program, hoping to achieve good results more quickly.
The problem is, we are creatures of habit, and changing too much at once overwhelms us. Sure, we can be consistent while we still feel motivated, but that feeling fades eventually, leading us to wonder, “Why even bother?”
So, instead of starting a demanding program, begin with something small: ten minutes of exercise daily. You can always scale up your efforts, but start small to establish a foundation.
Focus On Consistency And Never Miss Twice In a Row
Many people fail to realize that our behaviors gain momentum, which makes them difficult to stop down the road. Doing something a few times isn’t a big deal, but the more you repeat a behavior, the more you ingrain it into your identity. As time passes, the behavior becomes part of your life, and not doing it feels impossible.
Instead of looking for an excellent training program, focus on exercising consistently. Move your body every day, even if for just a few minutes. In doing so, you will gain momentum with the behavior, making it challenging to quit down the road.
On that note, understand that you will slip up from time to time. For example, you might have a hectic day and be unable to exercise, which doesn’t mean the end of the world. Don’t dwell on slip-ups but get on track as soon as possible and avoid missing twice in a row. Skipping one workout isn’t the end of the world, but two in a row can become a pattern.
Make It Easy To Do The Right Thing
A huge roadblock for creating new habits is initiating the behaviors. Getting started is often the most challenging part. So, a good way to make working out a habit is to make each workout easy to start. Doing so reduces the risk of skipping sessions and doing what feels easy.
For example, let’s say that you finish work, drive back home, prepare for the gym, and take off half an hour later. That’s one way to do it, but getting back home after work increases the risk of skipping a workout if you don’t feel like doing it. Instead, you can finish work and drive to the gym with your training bag ready. In doing so, you leverage the momentum you’ve created, making the session a non-negotiable part of your day.
Alternatively, let’s say that you exercise at home. You can clear up some room for exercise and place all of your training equipment there. That way, you make it easy to initiate the workout because you don’t have to move furniture around and take out the equipment from some cabinet. As a result, getting started is a no-brainer.