Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall. The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.
This seems especially true when it comes to working out.
Working out can be one of the top activities where you can find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it. (Just like the tennis shoe!)
In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.
Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit
The first thing is to get real with yourself and set realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.
In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!
Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!
Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do. That’s how every single human on this planet behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.
In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself for every week you accomplish your work out goals.
Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.
Types of Rewards
This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing, make the reward better.
So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!
After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.
Make Your New Habit Fun
It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do. Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!