4 Habit Hacks For Exercising Consistently
We all know we should exercise regularly, but do you often face the challenge of not feeling motivated to actually do it? Yep, me too.
This is what my inner dialogue has done too many times:
‘I’m going to exercise in the morning before Leo wakes up. I’ll go to the gym, lift some weights then finish with some cardio and be done and dusted before the day begins!’
Next morning, after several wake ups during the night, the alarm clock rings at 5am, and…I press snooze. Ring! What feels like 5 seconds later it wakes me again. This time I do a mental check: am I too tired to workout right now? Yep. I’ll do it later in the morning when Dan can watch him.
Later in the morning rolls around, but by then I’m half way through doing the washing, trying to plan what I’ll make for dinner, and comforting a teething bubba. My “motivation” to move has waned, and it’s just all too much by now.
The struggle is REAL!
What I’ve realised lately is that motivation isn’t always enough to actually get you to do what you know you should do. It also takes having some simple strategies up your sleeve that push you forward when the feelings aren’t there to support you.
And let’s face it, how many of us really feel like exercising when the time comes? Yeah I didn’t think so. Not many.
So, time for some habit-keeping strategies to get it done NO. MATTER. WHAT.
1/ MAKE EXERCISE CONVENIENT
There are so many obstacles to regular exercise that keep us from making it a habit:
It’s a pain to pack the gear when I’m leaving the house.
It’s a pain to drive and park at the gym.
It takes too much time to work out.
It’s annoying to get there in time for a place in the class or to wait to use the equipment I want.
I don’t even know how to use the equipment or do many exercises.
I always forget something I need.
It’s a pain to get ready for work at the gym.
First of all, figure out why you find it inconvenient to exercise. Identifying that will help to find a solution. You might like the gym, but not getting to the gym. Or you might like the exercises, but feel embarrassed in a gym environment. You might not be a morning person, and find you have more energy in the evenings to work out.
Next, turn that inconvenience into a convenience. Here are some ideas:
Put your work out clothes & gear out the night before, or always have a set in the car.
Join a gym or fitness team that is close to work or home so that travel time isn’t an issue.
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, for example, walking the dog, or parking further away from work and walking/working out before or after work.
2/ SCHEDULE IT
If it isn’t scheduled, it won’t happen. This is often SO true. scheduling it into your planner at the start of each week can make a big difference, especially when you’re trying to form a habit. Think of yourself as BOSS lady of your own life - when you schedule am appointment, bosses don’t cancel! Carving out time for a habit that will help you thrive and be the best version of yourself (like exercise) is an essential appointment you can’t afford to miss.
Keep in mind that exercise doesn’t have to be an hour every day. It could simply be that you do a home workout for 10-15 minutes as soon as your kids are down for a nap. But make sure you schedule it! Here’s a whole bunch of home workouts you can do with me that only take 10 minutes.
3/ BE ACCOUNTABLE
If you have an Obliger-type tendency (learn more about this from Gretchen Rubin’s amazing work on habit tendencies), creating accountability will go miles in helping you form a regular exercise habit. Here’s some ideas:
Have a friend or two that you schedule with and plan to meet at the gym for your work outs.
Join a membership-style fitness program that only has certain session times, so if you don’t go you miss out.
Pay more for a small-group or personal training program. The financial investment is often a great form of accountability, especially when you’re not in the mood, but you’ve already paid for it.
4/ MOTIVATION MENTAL HACKS
On those days when you’ve done everything else, and you’re still struggling to get your butt out the door, sometimes you’ll need to snap yourself out of that funky headspace in a matter of seconds.
Here’s two mental hacks that will help you do that:
Mel Robbin’s 5-Second Rule. She says that you’ll basically never feel like doing the thing you know you should do, and therefore we need to literally decide in the moment and act. How does it work? You literally count down 5-4-3-2-1 in your head, then go do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t wait to feel like doing it. Just act.
Rachel Hollis “Same Me, New Mood” method. Similar to Mel Robbin’s strategy, if you find yourself in a funky mood that’s not getting you anywhere closer to the best version of you, Rachel says find a physical movement to “snap” yourself out of it (like clapping your hands together, or jumping up and down, or doing a little jiggy dance) , and say “Same me, new mood!”
The more you practice these mental hack strategies the easier you will find it to switch in the moment, as you train your brain to do so.
In essence, making exercise a consistency in your life means you can’t rely on feeling like it. We gotta own our lives, and act out who we want to be, whether we feel like it or not.
So, what habit hack spoke to you out of these four? Which one can you adopt today, or this week? Leave us a comment and share it with us :)