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Developing a habit for exercise is crucial if you want to get sustainable results…

Posted on May 15, 2012 in Fitness Blog, Glossary | by

Here’s my simple 5 step guide to form your habit…

1. Take it Easy

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is over committing too early. This is not the time to push yourself or to embark on long gruelling workouts. These workouts are not sustainable and you ultimately end up either injured or giving up. Spend the first 4 weeks just forming a habit. Start with 5 – 10 minutes and add a little more each week. Don’t worry about the results at this stage just build up that habit of exercise.

2. Make it Enjoyable

Find something that is fun for you. Speed walking to get the newspaper, cycling to work, walking the dog, performing some yoga moves etc. Again don’t worry about results for the first month just get out there and do something to get you moving and to build a habit.

3. Make an Appointment

Every day or every other day make an appointment with yourself, preferably at the same time. This is time for you to exercise, it goes in the diary and nothing gets in its way. You could schedule your appointment first thing in the morning (my favourite because then it’s done for the day), during lunchtime, or straight after work. Whatever you choose, add it to your diary and never double book, this is a special time for you and your habit forming workout.

4. Be Consistent

Building habits is all about consistency so you must NEVER miss a workout. If for some remote chance you do miss a workout then don’t freak out just get the workout done as soon as you can, but NEVER EVER miss two in a row. Being consistent is the foundation of forming your new habit so make sure you do something even if it’s not your complete workout.

5. Tell Everyone

Research has shown that accountability is vital for building a habit, so tell everyone! Tell friends and loved ones about what you are doing, keep a log of your workouts, post your workouts on a forum, but most importantly let it be known what you are doing. Make sure you log and post your workouts daily or every two days. One great way to stay accountable is to get a training partner to keep you going. Accountability is a key part of the habit forming process so do not miss out on this part.

After you have completed your month of workouts or daily activity you will have formed a basic exercise habit. Now you can spend the second month expanding on the intensity. Start to hone your workouts a little, set yourself some goals and reward yourself when you complete them. You can set goals based on time, weights lifted, distance covered etc.

Keep going, stay consistent and NEVER give up, it will get easier and you never know you might start to enjoy it!!!