What’s the best way to create a habit of exercising?
Many of us start the year wanting to exercise regularly. We make New Year’s resolutions to be more active, but find that it can be hard to actually make it happen.
But there are ways to stick to it. First, set a realistic goal. People who make a resolution to exercise a lot, such as four or more times a week, are more likely not to meet those intentions, than people who aim for a less aggressive goal.
Also, don’t undermine yourself. Set goals you are likely to accomplish. For example, don’t plan to go to the gym three days a week at 5:30 a.m. to do powerlifting if you hate waking up early, don’t like lifting heavy, or know nothing about weight training, those intentions will vanish and you will get discouraged when you don’t actually do it.
Instead, think of all of possible obstacles that stand between you and exercise, and address them. Pack your gym bag the night before and set it by the door. Plan workouts for when you are most awake and energetic, and consistently set aside that same time for exercise so that it becomes easy to work into your schedule as a habit.
Most importantly, choose an activity that leaves you feeling happy and confident. Studies show that people who dislike their workouts or feel clumsy and inept at them will not continue, no matter how sincere their intentions. So if the treadmill bores you and boxing intimidates you, try a boot camp class or sessions with a personal trainer.
We all want to look great and get the health benefits from regular exercise, but we also need to work on finding the most pleasant experiences to actually achieve that behavior. Once you develop the exercise habit, you can branch out even further.
The trainers at our private gym located in St. Louis’ Central West End will help you get started on a program you will like and keep up over time.