It can be really hard to make moving a daily habit. Up to 67% of all gym memberships go unused, and many of the people who do work out do so irregularly. Moving—even just a little—every day has so many positive impacts on your life. It can improve mental health, boost your energy, reduce stress and increase resilience. So how do we make it easier to exercise everyday?
Figure out your “friction” points and remove them
Forming new habits (or breaking old ones) isn’t just a matter of willpower. You need to set yourself up to succeed. If you struggle with getting ready to workout in the morning, then take five minutes to prep the night before: set your workout clothes out, set up your workout fuel, spread out your mat and weights. If you’ve joined a gym and only find yourself going once or twice a month, find a gym that’s closer. (Or skip it entirely and workout at home!)
You can also try “stacking” your new movement habit with an established habit. Stretch while your coffee is brewing. Go to the gym before your weekly grocery trip. Incorporate some squats into your tooth brushing time. The point is to make it as easy as possible. Removing obstacles or doubling up on a habit that’s already ingrained set you up for success to start moving everyday.
Adjust your goals
First, are your workout goals actually in your control? “Lose 10 pounds” or “Get a six-pack” aren’t. Worse, when you get into movement to change the way you look, you’re forming a negative relationship to movement right out of the gate. What is in your control? The time you spend moving, how much weight you lift, the reps and sets you complete. Make a plan around goals that you can control.
Second, start small. Our shortest workouts are five minutes long, because sometimes, that’s all the time you have. But other times, if you finish five minutes, you’ll find yourself wanting more.
Sure, exercising everyday is its own reward, but extra incentive never hurt anybody. Save that podcast episode you were looking forward to for your workout or your walk. Find some post-workout snacks you love to refuel. If you meet the goals you set—moving every day for a week or a month, or completing ten pushups without a break—do something you like. Get your nails done, watch a movie or show you’d been looking forward to, make plans with a friend.
What motivates you?
We know that we should exercise, but obligation is not motivation. Take some time and reflect: what are some previous times you made a new habit stick? What helped you stick with it? If you’re trying to make daily movement a habit, write down what makes you excited or happy about movement, as well as the more analytical pros and cons of this new habit.
Once you’ve done some reflection, make a brief plan for your new movement habit. Give yourself goals, rewards, and accountability, and apply the lessons you’ve learned from previous attempts.
Lastly, consider joining our FB group! Working out with other people can be incredibly motivating, and it’s amazing to have other people cheering you on and sharing your success.