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How to Stick to an Exercise Habit

Aug 29, 2013
Starting a new exercise routine is a challenge. It's especially difficult if you're going from not exercising at all to becoming a more active person. Then there's the investment-the investment of money in a gym membership or home equipment; and the investment of time.

Once you've finally gotten into the gym-going groove, there are still times when you'd rather lounge than lift weights. So what do you do when your willpower runs out and you can't motivate yourself to follow through on your newly formed exercise habit?

Don't panic, you can overcome this momentary lapse of focus by following these simple steps for maintaining your exercise routine.

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Identify Your Why

When progressing through your fitness program, think about why you're doing it. Why are you putting in the time and effort to get fit? Do you want to be a competitive athlete or simply lead a healthier lifestyle? It doesn't matter why you're choosing to exercise, as long as you know it. If your motivation begins to fade, your goals can always remind you why it's so important to keep going.

Workouts that Work for You

It's important to be realistic when creating your exercise program. Don't attempt to complete a two-a-day workout schedule when you know you don't have that kind of time. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, set yourself up for success. Establish small, actionable steps that you can accomplish on your path towards becoming more fit.

Be Accountable

If it's up to you, you might skip out on a workout. But, if you have a training partner or group of people depending on you, you'll be less likely to bail on exercising. Consider joining a running club, fitness class, or partnering up with a friend or trainer to create accountability. If you're not a fan of social workouts, try downloading an activity tracking app or posting your progress online for others to see. This way, if you miss a workout you'll have a lot of people to answer to.

Forget Perfection

Exercise is not about perfection, it's about improvement. Think back to your "why"-as long as you are progressing towards that goal, and being true to yourself, you don't have to worry about anything else. Changes in your body composition and confidence may be slow to come, but are within your reach. If you continue to show up and put in your best effort, progress will be yours. And, that's the goal-progress-not perfection.

Create a Lifestyle

Maintaining an exercise habit becomes a lot easier when it becomes part of your routine. Stop thinking about exercise as a chore or burden and begin to think of it as part of your day, and your life, from here on out. From now on, think of it like this: you need exercise like you need food and shelter. It's a necessity. Since that's the case, you have no option but to make it work, to fit it in, and prioritize your exercise habit.

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Joe Vennare is an accomplished fitness entrepreneur who develops, instructs and writes about innovative fitness programs. He is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio, and Race Day Domination.



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