Tips for Creating New Workout Habits

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!)

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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!

Don’t do this on your first day back at the gym!

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.

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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!

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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!

Done is Better Than Perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

I wrote down this saying on a sticky note and placed it on my keycard for work, which I pull out and see at least 4 times a day. This is a nice reminder that sneaks into my subconscious mind to remind me that sometimes, it’s better to be done and turn in a piece of writing versus constantly revising it.

Sometimes I feel that I can go a little nuts about my writing piece. I’m never 100% satisfied or confident with what I wrote. Even my published pieces, I feel like I could do better. So, when I’m writing I want to constantly re-edit, re-write and re-edit my pieces over and over and over again. In a world of deadlines and time management, feeling this way is not productive.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting
Done is better than perfect

Therefore, being done with the piece, is better than it being perfect. Because the truth is…is that it will never be perfect. I think that’s a hard but important lesson for creative writers to learn. It will not be perfect. But you got it to be pretty darn close to it though, right? Right.

While it is important to turn in your best work, you can’t wait keep revising. If you do, than while your busy trying to make it perfect another person is coming up behind you and going to get the spot before you did.

At some point you have just to realize it’s done, submit it and walk away.

Let me know, does this make sense? Is this also how you feel writing or are you able to feel satisfied early on and turn it in?

Managing Your Writing Goals

Creating and maintaining goals is a great way to stay on track with your writing. I don’t know about you but if I don’t force myself to write, then I probably would not write as much as I do.

So if you’re like me, you should try setting some writing goals for yourself.

adult brainstorming business career

When thinking about your goals, the first thing that you want to do is be realistic. Really think about it, before committing yourself to it.

Here’s why.

We, as humans all tend to become overly excited and extremely motivated when first setting goals. We envision who we want to be and then say that nothing will get in the way of our dreams. And for a few days, maybe even a few weeks it works.

We stay on track and hit our goals. Until…the inevitable happens.  You somehow manage to screw up your goal plan.

If your plan is too unrealistic, you’ll become overwhelmed quickly and when it doesn’t work out, you’ll feel like a failure. But, you’re not a failure. You just set your goals in an unrealistic way. But, kudos to you for your high ambition!

woman working girl sitting

To avoid this overwhelming feeling that do not serve us, it’s important to set realistic goals. In fact, set your goals low at first and then keep adding to them.

For example, I jstarted this blog about a month ago. It’s something that is brand new to me. I write for two other sites, I have a full time job and I need time during the weekends to mentally chill out. So, while at first I would love to write for this blog 4 times a week, I don’t think that’s really realistic at this point.

Instead, I am going to shoot for once a week. And, I’m able to hit that goal without feeling overwhelmed. In fact, I feel very satisfied with myself with hitting this goal, which in return, inspires me to keep up the work.  As this once a week post becomes an easy habit for me, then I will add 2 a week and so on.

So, once you have a realistic goal, the next thing to do is to write it down. This helps your brain to remember it better and also allows you to have a visual reminder. I like to place my written goal in an area on my desk where I see it numerous times a day. That way it’s a constant reminder and gets into my subconscious.

Another suggestion is to reward yourself every time you complete that goal. Our brain is hard wire to repeat actions that cause us pleasure. So if we do an action and expect a positive reward we are more likely to complete and repeat that action.

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Rewards are a great way to reinforce hitting your goals

The last suggestion is to remain patient. Goals take time to achieve. And learning how to achieve those goals also takes time. In our society we are led to believe that success will happen overnight, but sadly that’s not true. Every achievement takes goal setting, small steps and time. So if you remember to keep on top of your goals and you don’t quit, you will ultimately get there.

Remember no human can stay on track with their goals all the time. But what separates successful goal achieves from non-achievers is how they handle themselves when they fall off. An achiever will always get right back on the horse and try again, no matter how many times it takes.

Questions for you:

When was a time where you set a goal and achieved it? What things helped to keep you on track?