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How To Make Exercise A Permanent Habit While Living A Life You Love

How To Make Exercise A Permanent Habit While Living A Life You Love

The hardest part of making exercise a habit is to actually start exercising. Relying on willpower and motivation is a tactic that is doomed to fail. Habits are actions we carry out regardless of whether we feel motivated or not. Too many times, people look to motivation boards and exercise quotes in order to get themselves into exercising. Here are 6 habits to help you stop depending on people and get you to start exercising while living a life you’ll love.

Habit #1: Make your goals super easy

As you initially start out on this exercise journey, make it a priority to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Make sure these goals are insanely easy, it’s important to get off to a great start. Treat these initial goals as building blocks. Make these goals as specific as possible, the more definitive the goal, the more likely you are to succeed. So if you want to run in a marathon, but haven’t ran in 3 months, make it a goal to first consistently run a mile a couple times a week.

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Habit #2: Start small and build from there

Exercise and lifestyle changes are easier to implement when you take it one step at a time. There’s no shame in starting small, as long as you are moving closer to your goals. People fall into the trap far too often of being overly ambitious with their habits. It’s better to be a master of a couple habits than a jack of all trades who hasn’t fully mastered anything. If you are totally new to exercising, make it a fail proof activity by committing to only 15 minutes three times a week. Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem too daunting and the level of commitment is low, leading to a higher likelihood of success since you have an easy task to start with. Completing this goal of 15 minutes will lead to increased confidence and before you know it, it’s been 30 minutes.

Habit #3: Log and track your habits

You aren’t serious about reaching your goals until you start tracking progress. Logging your workouts is essential because you need to know if you are heading in the right direction or if you need to make some adjustments. How can you know if you’re eating enough or not enough unless you keep a food journal? Tracking your food helps you manage and adjust your portions as needed along with the added benefit of becoming more mindful of what you put in your body. Lastly, take some pictures and measurements monthly for added accountability to stay on track. By taking measurements and tracking your workouts and nutrition, you’re creating a strong system of accountability which further increases your chances for victory.

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Habit #4: Find a diet that is easy, sustainable and pleasing to the palate

There’s no need to have a restrictive diet in which all your food is bland and boring. Chicken breasts that taste like rubber while eating a cup of steamed broccoli sounds like torture. For guaranteed nutrition success, choose a way of eating that blends with your lifestyle flawlessly. Fat loss should be easy and not some life-altering event. Include your favorite foods into your diet, no one deserves to go without ice cream.

Habit #5: Pick an exercise plan that fits with your lifestyle

How many days should you workout? How should you be working out? The answers to both of these depend on your individual lifestyle. There’s no need to spend six to seven days at the gym. Fantastic results can happen in as little as three days committing to as little as 30 minutes. If you choose to only lift 3 days a week, full-body workouts are tailor-made for that kind of situation. Remember, exercise fits in with your life, not the other way around.

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Habit #6: Find fun ways to stay active

Who says you have to go to a gym in order to exercise? Whether it’s going for a run, going hiking, biking up the countryside, or skipping the elevator and walking up a flight of stairs, there are plenty of ways to stay active and burn calories.   Comment below: What’s the number one way you maintain your exercise habit?

Featured photo credit: david_a_l via flickr.com

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More by this author

Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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