Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health; still, many people find it challenging to commit to and stick with a routine. In this article, Dan Calugar provides seven steps to establish habits that become routines that will produce results. Achieving your health goals in this way offers the benefits of the exercise and strengthens your character.
1. Social Accountability
We are more apt to make better choices if we know people we care about are aware of what we’re doing. So why not use that to your advantage? Once you have stated your commitment to your family, friends, and colleagues, you have created an additional level of motivation. That may be just what you need to choose to reach for your running shoes instead of your snooze button.
Depending on your sport of choice, audiobooks can make the difference between looking forward to a workout and dreading one. This may not work if racketball is your thing, but for running, walking, and lifting, it works great. You will find yourself wanting to work out so that you can reengage with your book. Music works well if audiobooks are not your favorite.
3. Build a Relationship
If you’re a people person, it is critical that you combine your desire to interact with others and your exercise routine. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself wanting to skip the daily workout to be with others. If you do, you’ll look forward to exercising time so you can work on that relationship.
4. Baby Steps
Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon. Don’t start that journey by doubling or tripling your daily miles. Increase your distance incrementally. Pick a reasonable race date – even sign up if you want. Determine your current distance and time capabilities, then figure out how much you will need to increase your distance and speed to meet your goal. If done right, this method almost feels like cheating because the additional effort is so slight you hardly notice it.
5. Enjoy the Journey
When you achieve your goals it can be exhilarating and rewarding, but there has to be more to life than just that. For most people, even goal-oriented folks, there is not enough motivation behind goal achievement to get them through the demanding daily grind. Design your exercise routine so that you enjoy it and look forward to it. Mix it up, so it doesn’t become boring, and look for ways to achieve incremental milestones so you can experience a sense of accomplishment all along the way.
6. Leverage technology
There are tons of exercise apps and gizmos today to help you stick with your routine. If you like statistics, you can measure every aspect of your program and the results. Take advantage of all the research that has gone into the exercise equipment and device market to keep yourself injury-free and on track to reach your goals.
7. Don’t Obsess
Obsessing about fitness is not likely to help you stick with your routine. Success comes when you develop daily habits that lead to incremental improvements. You will stick with it if you enjoy it and look forward to exercising. Direct your efforts toward creating a plan that you love rather than pushing yourself too hard.
Apply these seven steps to your exercise routine, and before you know it, you will have developed habits that produce results. You’ll love how you look, feel, and the person you have become.
You can use the principles behind these seven steps to accomplish nearly any life goal. Of course, change the details to fit the situation, but the ideas remain the same – enjoy life!