5 Simple Steps to Making Exercise a Habit in 2017

I thought it would be fitting to have an article to help you with your new years resolutions. I’m not a fan of making new years resolutions as I pointed out in my previous article here. The simple reason is because they generally don’t work.

Only about of 8% of the population actually stick to there new years resolutions. This is because you’ll try and take on too much too soon, not see the results you expect and then give up. Depressing but true. Just look at what happened to you last year or the year before. I wrote about this in more detail here.

Using the 5 tips I’ve outlined you’ll have as much higher chance of success in 2017 and if you can make exercise a habit this year then it will truly be a life changing year for you.

  1. Focus on Skills

First off, I get it. We all want to be leaner. I know, I do too. But fat loss as the only reason to exercise is a terrible habit to strive for. Fat loss is an outcome. It is something that will happen as a result of your daily behaviours – think – improved diet, more movement, better sleep and reduced stress. Then fat loss happens. But if all of the above are chores that you dread the chances of succeeding diminish dramatically.

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This is why I alway get my clients to focus on skills not outcomes. I’ve some clients focusing on handstands, some focusing on strict chin ups and others focusing on being able to do pushups. Almost all female client I work with has an initial goal of losing x amount of lbs. They never come in saying I want to hit 3 strict chin up or nail a 10 second handstand. But this is the direction that their goals go in after some coaching.

I want to get them away from obsessing about the scales and about their weight. Once they focus on a skill and begin to enjoy showing up and practicing that skill the fat loss follows. Having a skill based goal makes the whole process more enjoyable, rewarding and keeps them training consistently. All the keys necessary for exercising long term.

  1. Have a strong ‘why’.

For any habit to stick it has to have a strong reason for sticking to it. Tony Robbins says people change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. This is so true. If you want to exercise more but have no real pain if you don’t chances are without proper accountability you’ll slip back into your old habits.

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Now if you start getting pains in your chest and the doctors says if you don’t start exercising for 30 minutes 5 days a week otherwise in 6 months you might die. Chances are you’ll be much more inclined to stick to that habit!

Fortunately you don’t need a near death experience to build an exercise habit. You can use what Mark Manson calls ‘The Self-Awareness Onion’.  You can use this method to peel back ‘the why’ behind ‘why’ you want to exercise. Simply keep asking yourself ‘why’ until you get to the route cause.

Here’s an example;

“Why do you want to make exercise a habit? I want to fit into my jeans again.”

“Why do you want to fit into your jeans? Because that will make me feel good about myself.”

“Why will that make you feel good? Because I’m not happy about my body and felt much more secure when I could fit in them jeans.”

  1. Make it small
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Instead of committing to 4X60 minute sessions a week. Focus on nailing 2X20 minute sessions every week. If you hit more, awesome, but remember anything more than 2×20 minute sessions is a success. This also makes it easier to overcome that initial resistance when you don’t feel like going to the gym. Why? Because it’s only 20 minutes.

Remember, the 20 minute workout you did is always better than that 60 minute session you planned on doing but couldn’t find the time.

  1. Make it Frequent and use triggers

The next step needed to make exercise a habit is frequency. The more consistently you do something the more automatic it becomes. This When it comes to mobility I recommend clients do 2-5  minutes of stretching daily instead of 1-2 long sessions a week.

The chances of them skipping stretching that last longer than 20 minutes is much higher than a 2 minute session. Making it more frequent and also using a trigger can make it more concrete a habit. So you could say that you’ll stretch your hip flexors every day for 60 seconds each side after you brush you teeth in the morning.

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