I’ve officially finished one month of my new exercise regime. I’ve been wrestling with attempting to make exercise a solid habit for well over a year now. It generally goes well for me for a week or so, and then it falls away. After a month, I hope I can now officially say it’s a habit. Here’s what I’ve found works for me to make it a habit:
1. Never skip more than 1 day. Everyone needs a break, and it’s important to take breaks to allow your body to heal. However, if you skip more than one day, it becomes too easy to make excuses to skip more.
2. Find a fun exercise. My current addiction? The Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD. It’s fun, difficulty, and just interesting enough that it makes me want to continue trying it. I mix this DVD in with alternating days of running.
3. Go with your body’s schedule. I’m not a morning person. I know that. For some reason though, I thought I wanted to be a morning exerciser. When I was getting up at the crack of dawn to hop on the treadmill or go to yoga class, it was nice to be done before work, but I was miserable. I realized it works much better to just do what your body wants. I now exercise immediately after work and I still get my morning sleep.
4. Weigh yourself everyday. This is a point of contention with some, but it works well for me. If I start to not pay attention to my weight, I start allowing too much “slipping” in my diet. If I see the scale stay where it should be, it reminds me I am doing things right. Don’t let it become an addiction. Weigh yourself once per day at the same time everyday, and put the scale in the closet the rest of the time.
5. Reward yourself with something other than food. If I’m doing well, I enjoy rewarding myself with something. It’s not food, and it’s not exercise either. Sometimes I might buy a new CD or a new exercise top. These things keep me motivated, not feeling deprived, and allow for some fun.
These are the things that have helped me make exercise a habit, and hopefully one for life!