Sussex Performance Centre

How To Make Exercise Stick In Your Routine Forever

  • If you want to stay consistent with exercise, break the all-or-nothing mindset.
  • Prioritizing and planning help translate your good intentions into action.
  • Embrace lasting fitness habits for better health.

Engaging in new endeavors as an adult often presents its fair share of challenges. My personal journey is riddled with attempts at various activities—self-guided Spanish lessons, fencing, horseback riding, and even rock climbing. Yet, the only consistent thing is inconsistency; a flurry of beginnings followed by quick stops or an unfortunate lack of persistence.

Failing to start or failing to stay consistent is a common feature of exercise. Yet, the significance of exercise in daily life stands out a lot more than successful horseback riding. It’s about something far more critical—our health. 

The absence of exercise gradually increases the odds of falling ill and compromises our quality of life.

Naturally, it’s no surprise that countless individuals resolve to exercise more. Yet, the journey is fraught with two categories of pitfalls: the failure to start and the struggle to maintain consistency.

I’ve had the privilege of conversing with over a thousand individuals. Recently, I’ve delved deeper through formal interviews with those who’ve mastered the art of maintaining exercise consistency. Here are the five most important things I’ve learned from these interactions.

Break the All-or-Nothing Mindset

One crucial lesson: The all-or-nothing approach to exercise is a recipe for disappointment. Consider this scenario—a surge of motivation leads to a gym membership and a commitment to five one-hour workout sessions per week. A familiar story.

This strategy is short-lived. Motivation is dynamic; it rises and falls. The key is understanding that to establish true consistency, it’s better to prioritize gradual progress over intensity. Start with a minimal exercise dose, perhaps just 5 to 10 minutes. Embrace this as your starting point. It’s perfectly acceptable.

Make a Plan, Guard Your Time

In one interview, a participant emphasized the role of scheduling in her workout routine. Often, a lack of motivation is intertwined with a lack of planning. The solution is simple—decide what you aim to achieve and allocate time for it in your schedule. Create a calendar entry, set reminders, and guard this commitment.

Elevate Self-Prioritization

Among those working from home and tending to families, self-prioritization can be a formidable challenge. The tendency is to place everything else before personal needs. However, it’s essential to recognize that carving out time for yourself can, in turn, enhance productivity and well-being.

Many remote workers discover that they possess more control over their schedules than they initially assume. By implementing time blocks for exercise, they can return to work invigorated. A poignant example emerged when a mother established a dialogue with her children, delineating her exercise time as mom’s time. After a transition period, this turned out to be a healthy precedent.

Celebrate Progress

The journey of transformation often unfolds incrementally. A memorable interview revealed the story of an individual who started a walking routine that eventually evolved into running—running turned into a sprint triathlon. Then, 15 years after that first walk, the member did an Ironman race.

Every step along this path warrants celebration. Exercise yields a cascade of improvements, nurturing a consistent stream of motivation. It’s vital to pause and express gratitude to your body, acknowledging each session as a victory in itself.

Make Identity-Driven Goals

Most people focus solely on weight loss when they exercise. While weight reduction can result from consistent exercise, it’s often modest at best. The problem arises when the motive and the action misalign.

A transformative approach is to shift from outcome-centered goals to identity-based ones. This entails envisioning the person you aspire to become. By adopting this perspective, exercise becomes intertwined with your very sense of self. Rather than fixate on specific results, channel your energy into embracing each session as a declaration of your evolving identity as a committed exerciser.

Navigating the path of consistent exercise is no small feat. By discarding all-or-nothing thinking, committing to gradual progress, embracing planning, prioritizing self-care, celebrating each step forward, and grounding goals in identity, we cultivate a strategy that aligns with the essence of successful exercise endeavors. It’s not about fleeting bursts of motivation; it’s about the steady rhythm of building a resilient, healthier, and more self-aware you.

This article was taken from:

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