Now that you’ve reached here, I am quite sure that you already know the benefits of working out daily. After all, who doesn’t want to feel energetic and lead a healthy & active lifestyle? But let’s be honest – working out consistently is not as easy as it sounds. Especially on days when you’re busy, tired, hungry or sore. If you too are wondering how do people stay consistent with exercise and diet, let me tell you – all it takes is a slight change in mindset and a little bit of planning. In this post, I’ll list down 10 simple tips that will help you make that much needed mindset shift and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
1. Know your big WHY?
So you have a goal in mind. You want to exercise daily. But that’s not enough – you have to know why you’re doing it: what will it mean to you if you achieve your goal and how will you feel if you don’t.
Imagine. Imagine the person you picture yourself to be once you are consistent with your workouts . Let’s say you want to lose weight or burn excess body fat. But the big goal, the one that will truly help you be consistent, is to feel good about your own body and how it shapes up as you progress. To transform into a person who feels energetic and active throughout the day.
Be consistent in becoming that person. Write it on a board or your personal diary and look at it every time you’re about to make an excuse. This mindset is crucial to motivate yourself initially. Spend some time and find that real ”WHY” that drives you emotionally to show up every damn day.
2. Start Small
If you think you cannot spend an hour in the gym to get in shape, guess what? You don’t have to.
You don’t have to commit to six days of ass-kicking workout. Focus on recovery is critical so you don’t feel exhausted or injured the next day. A better tactic to stay consistent with exercise is to try out small 20 to 30 minute workouts. You can experiment with different formats like HIIT (on days you feel energetic) or Yoga (when you want something restorative).
Only then, when you’ve stuck with the workouts for a while, should you push yourself to increase the intensity and duration.
3. Make a schedule
Don’t leave things open ended. Treat your daily exercise as an important work meeting, which you’d not skip at any cost. Mark it on your calendar. For example, if you want to workout for 4 days a week, choose the days – let’s say Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. Now put them in your calendar for a scheduled time. I also like to avoid any sort of decision fatigue and plan the type of workout I’d do on each day of the week. This keeps me from skipping my workout or forgetting about it altogether.
4. Pick your time of the day and stick to it everyday
Be it early morning or later in the evening, the key is to find a realistic time of the day that you can block for yourself. If you’re not a morning person, don’t force yourself to wake up at 5 am for exercise. Instead, choose a time that suits you till the habit of exercise gets ingrained in your daily routine.
Start working out at that exact time every day, and it will become a habit within a matter of weeks. Following a simple routine makes it easier to stay consistent with exercise and make it a habit.
5. Commit to exercise for at least a month
Another way to stay consistent with exercise is to commit for at least 30 days. Give yourself a trial of 30 days for doing the habit consistently. Make it a point to exercise 4 days a week for the next 30 days without fail and see how you feel. Do you feel stronger, more energetic and fitter? My guess is that you’d love this version of yourself and would not want to return to how you were beforehand. With this done, you’d have created a habit of working out that will make it easier to stay consistent in the longer run.
6. Stop relying on motivation
If you want to stay consistent with exercise, you’ve got to stop waiting to feel motivated enough. All you need to do is to just SHOW UP! That’s it. That’s the key to make exercise a daily habit.
Your workouts need not be perfect all the time. The idea is that if you’ve committed to (let’s say) 4 days of exercise in a week, you HAVE TO show up for four days. So when you feel like missing your workout, try challenging your own mind.
Demotivated? Exercise will uplift your mood, so give it a go anyway.
Traveling? You can still work out, even if all you have is a hotel room.
Feeling tired? Try a scaled down version or go for less intense activities like Yoga or a brisk walk
7. Review your progress weekly
Needless to say, measuring your progress takes you one step closer to creating healthy habits. You can track your workouts with a workout journal, a fitness app, or something else as long as it is convenient & easy to follow. By the end of the month, you will see how successful you were at sticking to your workout routine.
You can monitor your current weight or muscle mass and accordingly adjust the workout type or intensity for the next week. Measuring your progress also maintains your motivation and provides a record of your progression – which is an extremely useful addition to your training.
8. Mix & match workouts
As you start working out daily, the workout routine tends to get monotonous after a certain point. Trying out new formats keeps things interesting and helps maintain consistency. It doesn’t mean that you need to try out something new everyday, but maybe a mix of 3 formats – Strength, HIIT, Yoga would add some variation to your exercise routine.
Also, mixing workouts is like eating a variety of foods, which gives you maximum nutrition compared to eating similar vegetables everyday. So make sure you have a balanced routine of Resistance, High intensity and Restorative exercises.
Related read: How to plan your perfect week of workouts
9. Keep your gear ready
If you’re always armed, you’re always ready. As trivial as may sound but keeping your workout clothes, shoes and gadgets ready takes you one step ahead of procrastination. It’s easy to rationalize not training because of a lack of sneakers or other gear, but it has a high cost. The last minute decision fatigue can make or break (mostly break) your consistency. If you workout in the morning, keep your gear ready an evening before. Once you are out of bed and your gear is already packed, you may as well get up and go.
10. Find an exercise buddy
Having an exercise buddy is a great way to boost motivation, hold each other accountable and stick to your workout routine. It also adds a social element, which brings more fun and helps you stay consistent with exercise. Your exercise buddy need not be a fitness expert, just someone who can ask “Did you work out today?” or “What was your workout today?”
Fitness is a lifestyle that you choose to live. It is the collection of these choices such as exercise and nutrition that keep us fit throughout our lives. Hope my tips help you get closer to your goal of staying consistent with exercise and building a healthy habit.
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