How To Make Exercise A Habit

You’ve probably seen those fitness fanatics at the gym. Self-proclaimed gym rats, they love working out. They smile as they sweat and are enthusiastic about all things fitness. 

While I’m no gym rat, I do love working out, and I know many of you do too. We enjoy movement. We don’t view it as a chore. In fact, we miss it when we are pulled away from our regular workout routine. When we travel or go on vacation, we often “bring” exercise with us.

So researchers call this “the exercise habit” but I think it’s simpler than that. We’re just a group of people who love working out, and it serves us well, right? We’re well-er for it. So the big question is, how does someone fall in love with exercise and then make it a habit? I’ve thought about it a lot and I think there are three keys: 

  1. Don’t set your alarm for 5am to workout...or another way of putting it, don’t be a masochist. Exercise is not suffering! This mentality is so outdated and it really pisses me off. The time of day, the type of movement, the intensity and duration of that movement…it should all agree with you. It’s exercise not Survivor.
  2. Do wear what you want. I’m not fond of shoes, so I’m barefoot most of the time. I love being warm, so I adore leg warmers and thermal shirts in the winter. I don’t mind spandex-y fabrics, but my favorite is cotton, hemp or linen, so I do lots of tees, sweaters and scarves. The first person I ever took a yoga class from wore what looked like pajamas bottoms and a silk robe (She was a yogi master too!) You do not have to dress in a Lulu Lemon store display or have the “best” cross trainers. You just need to wear what fits the function and what you feel comfortable in. 
  3. Make sure the workout environment makes you feel safe. This is why at-home workouts are so popular. People feel safe at home, socially and otherwise. I remember visiting fancy gyms and feeling very self-conscious, like I was not a part of the “in” crowd. I also remember taking a bootcamp class while in LA and the huge dumbells and other industrial equipment was very intimidating. I was a fit pro, taking my buddy’s class, and even I wanted to run away…that’s saying something! Remember: if you don’t feel safe, it’s not for you.

When you love movement, there is very little willpower involved. There’s discipline in terms of time-management and organization, but very little willpower.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again: your workout should not feel like a dentist appointment! (No offense to dentists.) It should not inspire dread. Instead, it should be a form of self-care you look forward to.

If you’re someone who hates working out, make the three aforementioned adjustments, and keep adjusting the exercise circumstance until it feels right. Exercise is for everybody – it really is – and adjustments are worth the effort because once you love movement, it’ll become a feel good, energizing self-help tool always at your service.