10 Steps to Developing an Exercise Habit

It can be frustrating when you know what you want to do, or even should do, but you can't get yourself to do it. Exercising regularly is something we all know that we should do, but few of us seem to be able to build that habit.

If you can create an exercise habit, you'll never have to motivate yourself to exercise again!

Try these tips to make exercise a habit:

1. Set a goal. In this case, set a goal to exercise a certain number of times each week for a specific amount of time.

For example, you may want to exercise four times a week for 30 minutes each time. Keep in mind that the more frequently the activity occurs, the easier it is to develop a habit.

2. Choose a form of exercise that appeals to you. There's no reason to choose swimming as a form of exercise if you don't enjoy swimming. Choose an activity that you can enjoy.

3. Find the best way to enjoy it. Walking on a treadmill can be boring. However, if you can walk on a treadmill and chat with a friend or watch TV, it might be more enjoyable.

Playing basketball in an organized league can be more enjoyable than running up and down the court by yourself.

4. Plan exercise into your schedule. Exercise is like saving money. If you only do it when it's convenient, you'll never do it.

Waiting until you have time to exercise is a mistake. Make time and build it into your schedule.

5. Have workout buddy. You've let yourself down countless times in the past when it comes to exercising.

What will one more time matter? You probably feel less comfortable about letting someone else down. Find a partner and be reliable.

6. Stay present while getting ready. It's the first step that's challenging. It's not hard to work out once you're at the gym. The challenging part is changing your clothes, putting on your shoes, and getting out the front door. A

void thinking about the drive, the workout, or anything else other than putting on your shoes and closing the front door behind you.

7. Reward yourself during and after your workout. Making yourself feel good about working out is one of the keys to repeating that behavior in the future.

Tell yourself how good you're doing. Jump up and down afterwards and tell yourself, "Yes, I did it!" That's enough of a reward if you can generate some real enthusiasm.

8. Visualize the long-results. Remember why you're exercising in the first place. It's to be healthier, feel better, and look better.

Visualize yourself six months from now. Imagine how great you'll look and feel. Imagine the reactions of others and the praise of your physician.

9. Avoid holding negative thoughts about your exercise. If you tell yourself, "I don't want to work out today. It's boring" while sitting at your desk in the afternoon, you'll be less likely to do it.

Catch yourself and change your thoughts to something positive.

"Working out is so good for me in so many ways, I'm excited I can spend 30 minutes working out today."

10. Allow for slips. Even Olympic athletes miss the occasional workout. It happens to everyone. It's important to resolve to not miss the next workout. Avoid using one misstep as an excuse to abandon your workout habit altogether.

Getting in shape is easy if you can develop the habit of regular exercise. The exercise isn't the challenge. Developing the habit of exercising in the real challenge. You don't need motivation or self-discipline if you have a habit.

Do you need to psych yourself up to brush your teeth? No, because you have a habit in place. That's how easy exercising can be once you've made a habit of it.

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Warren Tattersall,
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