Essential Steps to Creating Exercise Habits that Stick

Each year, “exercise more” tops the list of hopeful New Year’s Resolutions. This is no surprise—exercising is a tricky endeavor to start up that many fail at each year, but the benefits are immense when you make a permanent change. When it comes to creating exercise habits that will last, here are some key tips to follow.

1. Set a Routine and Stick to It

When forming any habit, consistency is key. To make your aspiration into reality, you must set a routine and stick to it. This is more than just hoping you get a workout in sometime before noon. Be precise about your exact plan. By getting in the routine of going for a run every day at 7:00 a.m., you’ll be one step closer to creating consistent exercise habits.

2. Start Simple

Starting out a new exercise routine is a thrilling endeavor. You get grandiose plans in your head and you’ll push yourself too hard, too fast. Rather than propelling you forward, however, this strategy will hold you back. Avoid the possibility of burnout by starting simple. Begin with a low-stress activity, such as 30 minutes of walking or dancing. Once your body acclimates to this, you can push yourself further.

3. Lay Out What You Need

It’s already hard to motivate yourself to get to the gym. If you add the time it takes to prep your gear, clothing, and equipment beforehand, it’s tempting to just take the day off. To combat this, lay out everything you need for your workout well in advance. This way you have no excuse not to go. The less obstacles in front of your workout, the better.

4. Make it Fun

Many people view exercise as a necessary evil, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Choose activities that are fun, and it’ll be that much easier to stick to your new exercise habit. If you’re not a fan of lifting weights in the gym, start off with morning runs instead. Tailor your workout to your specific taste so you can get even closer to your goal.

5. Switch Up Your Exercises

While it’s important to stick to your workout routine, doing the same exercises everyday can spell disaster for your new habit. Beyond the fact that the repetitiveness could cause you to lose interest, it isn’t very beneficial for your muscles. If you’re performing the same exercises day in and day out, your muscles will keep breaking down without the benefit of recovery. Incorporate a couple different workouts into your routine to keep your mind and body on its toes.

6. Consistency is Key

Above all else, you must be consistent. Impeccable form or exciting new exercises won’t do any good if you fall off the bandwagon. The beginning of any routine is a struggle, but once you get over that initial resistance, you’ll have a long-lasting, healthy habit that will serve you throughout your life.