Build a fitness habit with these 4 basic steps
Have you struggled to form any kind of fitness habit or stick with a fitness routine?
Let’s take it back to basics today. And we’ll build this from the ground up.
Here are 4 easy steps to get you started moving in the right direction.
Step one: Set a small, realistic, and simple goal.
Remember, we’re trying to build a habit that will be the groundwork for future goals. We are not trying to win a bodybuilding competition next month. So this is not the time to chase a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).
What is a simple and realistic goal? How about doing some activity you think you’d enjoy for 15 minutes 2 times next week. Maybe Monday and Wednesday. That is it.
15 minutes, twice a week. If you get up early and go for a walk for 15 minutes — boom! Mission Accomplished. If you go for a walk around the block after dinner, congrats! One down. You could uncover the treadmill, pull the bike out of the garage, or put on that exercise video you bought 5 years ago (do you still have a VHS player?)
Still, paying for that gym membership? Go in and mess around with the machines for 15 minutes. What you do is not as important as you doing SOMETHING.
Step two: Start a workout log or activity journal.
You can do this on your smartphone or in a notebook. I recommend you go to the dollar store and pick up a small spiral-bound note pad and a few cheap mechanical pencils.
Then after you do your activity from step one above, write down what you did. “Monday, July 25th, walked around block 2x, 15 min.”
If you’re feeling fancy you can also write some notes about the experience. Simple stuff, “Felt good!” or “was tough to get moving but made it.” or “Walked around the block and the neighbor's dog chased me. I will walk the other way next time (or bring a baseball bat).”
Step Three: Prepare for resistance.
You are going to have to face negative self-talk. It is part of the process — and is 100% normal. I want you to be ready for it. It will come in aggressive, obvious ways “why bother doing this — it’s not going to work!” And in more subtle and insidious ways. Like, “you’ve already worked hard today — maybe you can do those jumping jacks tomorrow?” Anticipate it — expect it — and move past it. The self-talk is lying to you. Follow through with the activity, it’s only 15 minutes. Write it in your log and note that the resistance was strong today.
Step Four: If you falter — acknowledge it and move on.
It’s not the end of the world. Nope. The less you dwell on missteps — the easier it will be to move on.
We’re just building a habit here, not training for the Olympics. If you intended to walk today — and life happened — walk tomorrow. Rather than getting frustrated, double down on your commitment.
Follow these steps and you’re off to a great start.
Bonus article recommendation: Life aint easy — Train anyway!