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"Now on, I'll exercise regularly without fail." This surely is one of the most commonly made New Year's resolutions. And surely, one of the most commonly broken too.
Let's face it: it's not at all an arduous task to start a fitness routine. The trouble, however, kicks in when it comes to sticking with it. With time, our initial enthusiasm and energy fades away, and we often get distracted by the myriad other things going on in our lives.
Even more so, when we think that we aren't seeing results quickly enough, and we happen to throw the towel.
If you're among the ones who has resolved and failed to start working out consistently, over and over again, you must be knowing by now that it can be a discouraging loop.
After a certain point, sticking to the exercise habit can seem nearly impossible. But it doesn't necessarily have to be that challenging, as long you adopt the right approach. And, that's exactly what we're going to help you with.
Keep in mind, that deciding on making exercise a habit and doing it in reality are somethings poles apart. Changing your behaviour is difficult. Transforming your lifestyle is undoubtedly hard. But what can help are the strategies that make it easier to stick with working out as a habit.
Below we share 5 such strategies:
1. Do The Variety That You Enjoy
2. Put Up That Training Schedule On Your Calendar
3. Find The Workout Time That's Best For You
4. Have A Clear Pre-Workout Checklist
5. Reward Yourself
1. Do The Variety That You Enjoy:
The most common notion that goes around exercising is that it has to be unpleasant. Like eating Brussels sprouts; the taste might suck, but you've got to get them down just because they're good for you.
No! If this is how you feel, then you might obediently hit the gym for a month or two, but, in the long run, as your dislike overpowers your will, you're most likely to stop working out altogether.
So why not take part in activities that you enjoy? And believe us, there's no hard and fast rule that says you have to hit the gym or buy equipment. Rather shift your perceptions from regimented exercise to enjoyable physical activities. It can be walking, running, tennis, cycling, or simple aerobics. Having a variety of activities in your list also ensures that you can do something or the other irrespective of weather or time of the day.
2. Put Up That Training Schedule On Your Calendar:
Choosing activities that you don't enjoy is the first thing that stops you from exercising regularly. Second is not setting aside time for it on your calendar.
It's simple: If you want time to workout, you have to make time for it. And the best way to do that is to put up your workout schedule on your calendar and then treat them like doctor's appointments.
If anything intervening comes up (unless emergency), inform that person you're busy when they ask you to do something at a time that clashes with your workout "appointment."
3. Find The Workout Time That's Best For You:
It's totally up to you at what time you schedule your workout "appointments". Experts believe that a morning schedule is the best. That way, your gym should be located in between your home and work. You can exercise, take a shower, and you're energized for the day.
But not everyone is a morning person. If that's you, then do it on your way home from work-that's the next best thing. But if you're opting for evening workout, don't go home first. A lot of people get demotivated once they go home to change clothes and go back out again to exercise.
4. Have A Clear Pre-workout Checklist:
One thing almost all great lifters and trainers do to ritualize their workouts is to have a pre-workout checklist. And that's incredibly effective.
Your checklist might include making sure your phone is charged so it won't stop playing music in the middle of your training, putting the phone in "airplane mode" so that calls and texts don't create distractions, filling up your water bottle, preparing equipment in your gym so everything's right at hand. Or it can even be changing into certain workout clothes.
Keep this checklist on an index card or sticky notes and review it each day. Since most of you will agree that getting started is the most difficult part in a workout, having such a list gets you in the flow. It strikes out decision-making, so that there's least standing in the way of you getting your sweat on.
5. Reward Yourself:
Let the rewards be something as small as you being able to button up your jeans without lying on the bed, since your belly fat has reduced. Honestly, think about it. How inspiring is that little achievement?
Experts say that making behavioural changes is hard, and rewards motivate one to do so. Decide on a goal and a reward, and constantly work towards it. Day in, day out.
You might buy yourself that new watch or a new set of headphones, but only when you've stuck to your fitness plan for one month. Or buy yourself those walking shoes you wanted when you achieve 5,000 steps a day. Just do whatever works best for you.
Always remember, turning exercise into a habit doesn't need to be hard. Find that one thing you enjoy, plan for it, prioritize it, and aim it at a purpose.
Keep adding one block on another to the heights of your new habit. And soon you'll find yourself becoming a man who literally finds it difficult to stay a day without exercise.
You can help others motivate themselves by adding your points too.
What has helped you make working out an unbreakable habit? Share it in the comments section below.