6 Ways to Turn Occasional Workouts into a Habit

Tips to help develop your exercise routine

It happens to just about everyone—at some point your busy life spirals a little bit and with too much on your plate, your workout routine is the first thing to go. Maybe you think of your workouts as a luxury, but they should actually be at the top of your priority list. If you’re struggling to find time for your workouts or can’t seem to make exercise more than an occasional event, check out our tips on making fitness a habit.

Set Goals and Reward Yourself
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the importance of goals and it certainly won’t be the last. Setting attainable goals gives you a clear path, a way to measure success and, most importantly, motivation. A good example for making exercise more regular might be to work out three times each week or maybe you want to focus on meeting a daily step goal. When you meet your goals reward yourself with some new workout gear or a fun experience, stay away from food rewards though.

Schedule It
When asked how people can fit a workout into their busy schedules, fitness professionals often say that when you schedule your workout (and actually write it in your calendar), you’re far more likely to make it happen. If you’re day-to-day is especially busy, make it a priority to get up earlier and do it first thing in the morning or if you are more of a night owl, fit it in before or after dinner.

Find Exercise You Enjoy
If you don’t like lifting weights or running on the treadmill than even your best intentions won’t help make these workouts a habit. It’s so much easier and more productive to find a workout you actually like doing. Ride your bike, join a local sports league or try rock climbing, find something you enjoy and your exercise routine will be something you look forward to.  

Remember the Benefits
New scientific studies and reports highlighting the benefits of physical activity come out each week. We know exercise helps prevent disease, keeps the mind sharp and aids in mobility as we age, but there are a ton of other benefits you may not be aware of. Get familiar with all the positive things exercise does for you and then make them personal—remember what it does for your mind and body and it will be that much harder to pass it up.

Find a Friend
Friends provide a kind of motivation and competition that you just can’t get when you’re going it alone. Workout partners keep you accountable by meeting you at the gym after a long day and they push you to work harder so you can match their effort. Having a fit friend helps keep you on track and that means reaching your goals quicker. If you want to make this habit stick, a fitness friend might be a big help.

Think of How You’ll Feel Afterward
Regular exercisers are quick to point out the boost in energy and mood that comes after physical activity (sometimes called the runner’s high). Though researchers aren’t in total agreement about what specifically causes that boost, medical professionals recommend exercise as a way to lift spirits. Remember that feeling when you’re on the fence about whether or not to work out.

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