We won’t nag you about what you already know: daily exercise is good for your heart, helps lower your risk for diabetes and stroke, and is the only surefire way to lose weight. The problem isn’t ignorance… it’s willpower. It can be really hard to stick to an exercise regimen!
But exercise, like everything else, is about habit. Eventually your body will get used to it, and even look for it. Here’s how to put that habit in place.
Give yourself a reward after you exercise
Make a list of about 10 small things that give you a lot of pleasure. It could be watching your favorite TV show, or a long hot bath with lots and lots of luxurious bubbles. The trick is to give yourself that treat only after you’ve gone to the gym (or whatever your exercise routine may be). One woman we know bought herself a big box of expensive dark chocolates. For every 20 minutes of exercise, she could get have one piece. When she’d be tempted to stop, she’d just have to imagine the chocolate melting in her mouth. Now that’s motivation!
Make a 30-day commitment
Promise yourself to stick to a routine for one month. Mark that date on your calendar. So if you’re tempted to quit, just think: ‘Okay, I will, but I still have 15 days to go.’ Then, ‘Yeah, I’m feeling lazy, but I have 7 days to go.’ It makes you feel better knowing you can eventually give up, but the funny thing is that by the end of the month, you probably won’t want to quit—the habit has been established.
Find a fun routine
Get an exercise program that suits your personality and tastes. IF you hate yoga, don’t force it—try zumba instead. Or maybe you’ll enjoy running or prefer the flexibility of exercising at home with an exercise video.
Find the best time slot
Look at your schedule and pick a quiet hour where you won’t be interrupted. Some like it first thing in the morning, others want their lunch break, while there are those that use exercise to wind down at the end of the long day. Whatever time you pick, make it sacred: block it off on all your planners and adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, if you want to exercise during your lunch break, make time in the morning to prepare a snack you can have before your workout, and don’t schedule any meeting later than 10:00 a.m.
Find an exercise buddy
You can take turns nagging, cajoling, threatening and supporting each other whenever either of you are tempted to quit.
Start a ritual
A ritual can help psych you up for exercise. For example, if you exercise after work, like clock work you can eat a light dinner at 5:30, clear your desk at 6:00, listen to your workout playlist in your iPod as you walk to the gym. This helps build momentum and shake off the laziness and temptation to just go home and watch TV.
Don’t listen to your excuses
Read our article on common reasons why people quit and how to solve these concerns.
Photo from youknowgymsports.blogspot.com