While the latest and most generally accepted philosophy on creating a new habit is to repeat the newly desired activity for 21 days straight, some researches state that it will take more like 66 days. They keys are consistency and enjoyment. This applies to any type of habit, such as creating a new fitness habit. Here are some tips to get you started on making a regular fitness routine that sticks.
- Exercise early in the day. Get it out of the way so you won’t have that annoying feeling of something you HAVE to do later, like a chore! When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. The production of endorphins sends messages to the brain that minimize pain and produce a euphoric feeling. This is a great way to start the day, EUPHORIC!! An endorphin boost early in the day can make it easier to manage stress throughout the day. Harvard researchers have shown that the positive effects from exercise were longer lasting than the effects from antidepressant medication.
- Look at exercise as a hobby rather than a chore. Hobbies are things you find enjoyable. Chores aren’t. Choose fitness activities that you look forward to and that you want to do. This may take a while if you’re new to the fitness world. Try things out to see what works for you.
- Start with small goals. Achieving goals is encouraging. As you progress in your fitness routine, challenge yourself with greater goals, but make them realistic. If you create unattainable goals you’ll be more likely to give up, feeling like a failure.
- If you do home exercises, rather than going to a gym or joining a baseball or bowling league, find a dedicated spot in your home that is JUST for exercise. This is easier to do if you buy a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine since they’re usually immobile and can’t be put away and forgotten. Most importantly, resist the urge to use your equipment as a clothing rack. Once you start storing shirts and jackets on the machines it becomes a chore you have to do before exercising.
- Weigh yourself consistently. Look for results on a daily basis. Step on the scale at the same time of day, every day. Seeing results often is a good reminder of your progress, both positive and negative. If you’re doing well, and seeing the numbers where you want them you’ll be motivated to continue. Seeing numbers you don’t want will remind you that you’ve gotten a little off track.