If you’ve ever wanted to make regular exercise a habit, then you’re reading the right article.
That’s because you’re about to discover my easy 3-step method for making exercise a natural, easy part of your lifestyle. Something you just do – without stressing about it or having to motivate yourself.
And the good news is that this method works even if you are lazy, don’t enjoy exercise or aren’t sure what exercise to do.
Step 1 : Start With Why
Many people who’re new to fitness don’t even realize that they need to do this step before they can effectively get started. And that’s why a lot of people who try to exercise regularly end up failing – they’re simply missing this crucial step.
So, the first thing you need to do is think deeply about why you want to make exercise a habit. You’ll find that this part of the process goes a lot better if you’re able to find your deepest motivation. How to do that?
Use the 5 Why’s Technique.
Ask yourself “Why Do I Want To Make Exercise A Daily Habit?”
Once, you have your answer, ask yourself why again.
Then again, and so on.
Continue, until you have your deepest motivation for doing it.
Why do I want to make exercise a daily habit?
“I want to be fitter”
“I feel tired and sluggish”
“I feel too tired to play with my kids”
“I feel like I am not a good role model for my children and that I am letting them down.”
Would that be a lot more compelling than simply “wanting to be fitter”?
Once you’ve really got to the heart of why you want to make exercise a habit, it’s time to move on.
Step 2: Think Of The Smallest Possible Action You Can Take Every Day
When I first started making regular exercise a part of my life, I made a critical mistake.
And now that I’ve helped others do it, I see a lot of people have a tendency to make the same mistake. So let me share with you what that is and how best to avoid it:
Trying to do too much too soon.
If you set a goal of exercising vigorously for an hour every day and you have been sitting on the couch for the last couple of years then you’re going to struggle to make it work.
You might get one or two days in, but as soon as you lose that initial motivation you’re going to struggle and will probably give up.
So, start with the smallest possible thing you can do:
- Perform one stretch on each leg
- Do 10 Push Ups
- Walk around the block
- Do 10 Squats
Start with the smallest possible action that you can take that you know you will be able to do.
Then commit to following through with it. Once it’s a habit, you can then scale it up.
Step 3: Create An If-Then-Reward System
This is based on the work of B.J. Fogg, a behavioural psychologist. At this stage, you know why you want to make exercise a habit and you’ve established exactly what exercise you’re going to do.
All that is left is to systematize it and the best system I know is this one:
Here’s how it works:
1.) Establish a trigger for when you’re going to do the exercise (If)
If I wake up
If I get home from work
If my child goes to sleep in the afternoon
If I have finished breakfast
I still remember the first time I was doing this step and trying to make meditating a habit. I resolved to do it when my 18 month old daughter was asleep in the morning. The funny thing was that she was making her own resolution at that very moment to drop her morning sleep. Nevertheless, the meditation did not get done.
So, don’t make my mistake and choose the right trigger. If in doubt, go for as soon as you wake up because it’s a failsafe.
2.) Establish exactly what you’re going to do (Then)
You’ve already done this in the previous step so just add whatever exercise you have decided to do. Remember to keep it small. We’re after consistency at this stage, not intensity.
3.) Establish a reward for completion of your habit (Reward)
This is the best part. Decide on something that you will give yourself when you have finished your exercise habit. It does not have to be fancy, but it must be meaningful. This will be personal for you, but some of my favourites are:
A hot shower
A cup of my favourite coffee
Permission to spend 5 minutes wasting time on Facebook
A hug from my daughter (sometimes I don’t get these if she is being temperamental!)
4.) Put your If-Then-Reward together
So you could go:
If I wake up, I will do 10 squats. I will then reward myself with a cup of coffee.
or If I shower, I will stretch my chest muscles. I will then reward myself with reading my book.
The Simplest Way To Create Any Habit?
There you have it: a simple 3-step method for making exercise a daily routine.
Now that you know exactly how to do it, there’s only one thing left for you to do: take action.
So get onto it and soon you too will be one of those “healthy, fit people” who exercises every day.
And, if you think this technique could help someone you care about, please share this blog post with them.