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how to create fitness habits

So you’ve decided it’s finally time to get into your best shape ever, and you’ve started a new workout plan! You’re so motivated and things are going well. But I’m sure you’ve been here before, right?

This isn’t the first time you’ve started a new workout plan. Usually you do great for a while, but then eventually you lose motivation and give up. Sound familiar?

But you’ve seen other people stick to it, even some of your friends! They go to the gym every day. Why can they make it work, and not me? I’m just as motivated as them! How do they do it?!

Here’s the secret – habits last, motivation doesn’t.

I’m going to tell you how to create fitness habits to get the body you want, and how to keep it forever!how to create fitness habits

I want to share with you a story. When I FIRST joined up at the gym years ago, I went with one of my best friends Jackie. She had already been going for a while so she knew all the best classes and she loved the gym. We started doing gym classes together. I made the effort to go every single day after work, and I quickly fell in love!

But Jackie was a little more irregular. Sometimes work or life would get in the way and she would be too late for the gym class, so she just wouldn’t come at all. Some weeks Jackie would come 4 times, and others she would only come once. There was no pattern. When she did come to the gym, she would always work super hard! But she never gave herself any credit. 

Slowly, she started coming less and less, and I was there by myself. After a while, I just expected that she would bail. So it become normal for me to exercise on my own. 

2 years later, I’m still going to the gym at least 5 times per week. And Jackie rarely makes an appearance. That was the best shape I’ve ever been in. Meanwhile, my friend was still struggling with i) her body image, and ii) finding the time to exercise.

So what was the difference? Was I more motivated? Well, maybe a little. But key difference was that I simply made it a habit. I had my regular times and classes that I went to each week. It made ALL the difference.how to create fitness habits

Here’s a different example of how habits work.

Have you ever been walking or driving (i.e. to work) to discover that you arrived at the place you wanted without consciously thinking about it?

That’s because walking or driving to that place was a HABIT that was engraved into your brain.

You can use this same HABIT mechanism to get your dream body. Developing habits will help you achieve your fitness goals much easier, and will also ensure that the results stick with you for a very very long time.

How Can You Do It?

After reading and implementing the things in this blog post, you can have the body you want in:

  • 6 months
  • 5 years
  • 30 years (I’m not guaranteeing that your skin will be as smooth, but you will be fitter, healthier and look younger than everyone else your age!)

How do you achieve this?

Is it a miracle?

NO.

Your brain holds all the power. how to create fitness habits

Developing a habit takes a bit of effort (especially at the beginning), but trust me… it’s totally worth it!

The science behind creating habits is SO IMPORTANT in starting a new fitness routine. Set yours up for success by incorporating these 3 habit forming steps into your life.

The 3 R’s of Habits

Reminder

The first step in starting a new habit, is remembering that you have to do it regularly.

Perhaps the new habit you’re starting is making a green smoothie for breakfast each day, instead of drinking coffee. A great way to remind yourself would be to set the blender on your kitchen bench in front of your coffee maker.

Your blender will serve as a visual reminder for your new habit.  And small reminders like this can help you start the habit!food mistakes

Routine

This is what you actually do as your healthy habit. Make it as EASY AS POSSIBLE to make this healthy activity a habit.

So if you’re starting the habit of having a healthy green smoothie:

  • Make sure you know exactly what is going to go in that smoothie so you don’t have to think in the morning.
  • Buy all ingredients in advance. Make sure you have everything you need to make your morning smoothie. You don’t want to be missing ingredients and then use this as an excuse as to why you can’t have a smoothie.
  • Prepare the ingredients in advance. If you like to put frozen fruit in your smoothie (like me!), chop up the fruit and put it in a small bag in the freezer so it’s ready to go. If you like to put spinach in your smoothie, have it washed and read so you can just throw it in.

If your new habit is going to the gym after work, here are a few tips to help keep that routine:

  • Find a gym that is close to your work or house. Even better if you need to drive past it on your way home from work! You don’t want to go somewhere that is inconvenient for you.
  • Make a plan on how many days you will exercise per week. Don’t just go when you can. Make a plan (i.e. day and time), put it in your calendar, and make it a top priority!
  • Know exactly what type of exercise you’re going to do at the gym. You could do a gym class, or get help from a personal trainer, or try an online program. But have this planned out in advance.

When starting a new habit and making it part of your daily routine, you need a plan. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “failing to plan is planning to fail.” And it’s true. You need a plan to follow and something to work towards.how to create fitness habits

Reward

After you have done the habit, reward yourself. You should ALWAYS reward yourself – even if you’ve done the activity 50 times already.

We often think that if we reward ourselves once or twice, that’s enough. But it’s not. To aid our brain in establishing a life-long habit, we should give ourselves a small reward for at least 6 months after starting the new habit (but preferably forever!).

You should be nice to yourself. You’re trying hard. Reward yourself – always

So what should the reward be? It can be ANYTHING, even something really tiny! Here are a few ideas:

  • Play your FAVORITE songs when you are getting ready for work (perhaps after that green smoothie!
  • Watch your favorite TV show on Netflix
  • Take a 5-10 minute break for yourself. Lay down and listen to soft music, or listen to a 10 minute guided meditation on Youtube. We don’t always take enough time for ourselves, and free time can sometimes be a treat!
  • Clap your hands energetically and say “good job” (aloud or in your head), and smile. This takes 3 seconds, but it will help your body produce those happy endorphins!
  • If you write a daily to-do list, you can cross it off as done. This simple act of crossing something off as “done” can be a satisfying reward.

The reward should be easy to obtain. Rewards that involve other people don’t usually work, because that friend needs to be near you or available at any time. And make sure the reward doesn’t sabotage your fitness efforts. Eating healthy and going to the gym is great! So try not to reward yourself with chocolate or alcohol, or something that will set you back.how to create fitness habits

It has been said that new habits begin to gel after 21 days. But that’s just for starters. It can take 60 days (or even more!) for a new habit to become automatic.

The good news is that missing the activity one time, isn’t the end of the world. Have patience and be kind to yourself. Developing a habit is hard and you won’t be perrrrfect. If you miss it once, just try again next time.

Following these 3 R’s will help you continue you that healthy habit forever. And healthy habits forever = your dream body forever!

Good luck! xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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