Can you believe it’s November already!? The year seems to have flown by! And as the year is coming to close, many people will start thinking about how 2016 went and how they want 2017 to go. For many, this process usually includes declarations of “I’m going to eat healthier, work out more!” and so on. Fitness is one of the most common things that people think of when setting their annual goals. But sadly many of those same people won’t make it past the one month mark. Why is that?
Well, a lot of it comes down to habit. Too many people depend on motivation to get them to their goals, which is simply not enough. Motivation is great for the first week or even the first month! But eventually motivation dissipates and the goals that seemed so important suddenly don’t rank so high on the to-do list. So how do we change this and go from depending on motivation to creating a habit? This is a question I have struggled with myself.
I’ve had many starts and stops when it comes to my fitness journey. I can look back 10+ years and see different points where I tried to include fitness into my life more, but it never lasted. I would lose motivation or hit a roadblock and I would give up. I tried obsessive calorie-counting, programs at gyms that made big promises, and many other things. And most of them probably would have worked! Except the obsessive calorie-counting…that one was terrible. The problem was I didn’t know how to turn fitness into a habit and so I was never able to keep it up.
Fast forward to 3 years ago. I had lost a decent amount of weight already through some lifestyle changes and a highly physical job and was feeling pretty good! But I knew I wanted to make a bigger change and put more focus on my health and my fitness. So I started trying to work out more. There were some more start and stops, but there was less time between them.
And finally to last year. I started getting more consistent and even started a great program! If you were with me back then, you know that my attempts at Kayla Itsines’ BBG didn’t go smoothly and there were a lot of obstacles! But I did finally complete it and the community around BBG really helped me to make fitness into a habit!
And now? I am at the gym 5-6 days a week, I am active outside of the gym and I do a few workouts at home too! Are there are days I don’t really want to work out? Of course! But most of them I do anyways and I always feel better afterwards!
Working out has become a habit in my life and I know it can in yours too! These 5 methods helped me make the transition from depending on motivation for my workouts to having a steady fitness habit!
5 Things that Can Help You Turn Fitness Into a Habit
Schedule your workouts
Just like any other appointment, you need to make appointments with yourself. Write down when you are going to exercise and what you are going to do. At the beginning of each week I sit down and write out my schedule for the week, including my workouts!
Find something you enjoy
Don’t like walking on the treadmill? So don’t! Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey, finding things you enjoy is so important. There are so many activities out there that will improve your fitness, so try some out! Take a kickboxing class, go hiking, try out a climbing wall! There are even groups in many cities that you can join that are centered around fitness. If you aren’t sure what you want to try (and you have the budget for it) you can join a gym that has a variety of classes and try them out! I recently joined the YMCA and have been loving the classes available, especially kickboxing!
Find your “why”
Now, I understand that finding your “why” might sound a little silly, but it works! Knowing your reason or reasons for wanting to work out. Really give this one some thought and preferably find a “why” that is long term. If you goal is to look great in that dress for an upcoming event, you may have a hard time keeping your focus after the event is over!
Find other like-minded individuals
This can either be on-line or in person (I do both!) but having a community is so helpful. There are many challenges that can come with changing your lifestyle and making fitness a priority. Having others to turn to and find support from can be the difference between pushing through them and giving up, especially at the beginning! Also, it’s just a lot of fun!
Look for the small victories
It can be disappointing when you are starting to work out and you don’t see a huge change right away. It can feel like all your hard work isn’t paying off and can really kill that motivation that got you started. Instead, look for the small victories! Did 5 push-ups last week? Maybe this week you can do a few more! Maybe you can lift something that last month you wouldn’t have been able to. Or you are sleeping better and having more energy. Paying attention to those smaller things can really help you push through the difficult moments and be reminders as to why you keep going!
Have you turned your fitness practice into a habit? What techniques have helped you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!