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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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Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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