The 38 Best Methods for Making Exercise a Habit

Uh oh. Halloween is right around the corner, and that means an abundance of Halloween candy. Whether you’re stoking up on candy for trick-or-treaters or tempted by bargain priced candy right after Halloween, there’s going to be lots of chocolaty sugary yummy temptations. I tend to overindulge this time of year, and as a result I get sluggish.

I’ve noticed that for me when I start munching on way too many candy bars my motivation nosedives. I don’t know if its because the sugar makes my energy levels drop like crazy or if its a psychological thing, but just when I probably need to be hitting the gym the most my motivation to throw on the sneakers and get out there disappears.

The single most important thing for me to guarantee I don’t give into my sugar induced laziness has been making exercise a habit in my life. It took a while, but I’ve made exercise a habit that I see as an essential and non-negotiable part of my self-care.

It’s not just a another box on my checklist of tasks to get done for the day, because let’s be honest–lots of those boxes don’t get checked off! Things come up, priorities get re-arranged throughout the day and often exercise time is the first thing to get sacrificed when it feels like you don’t have enough time in the day.

Not so when its a habit…you just do it no matter what. Your morning shower isn’t a task on your to-do list, right? it’s just something you do as a part of getting ready for your day. Exercise should be the same way.

Zen Habits (one of my favorite sites!) put together a list of 38 great tips from people for how they successfully made exercise a habit. Here are 10 of my favorite pieces of advice from the list.

  1. Stop looking at it as a habit and instead as a lifestyle and an important part of my self-care.
    ~Lara Rininger
  2. Crank up your favorite music! I often see suggested play lists for workouts, but just listen to what excites you. It will get you moving. ~Jen Zeman
  3. No one ever regrets working out. Is there anything else in the world you can do, and know 100% you won’t regret it?
  4. This is the one that’s helped the most: I’ve made a point to really, really, REALLY notice how much better I feel now that I exercise regularly; I’m sleeping better, my mood is better, I’m much less sluggish. It took about 3-4 weeks to see it, but it’s helped a lot. ~Polly
  5. Do it in the morning, habits are much easier to establish in the morning, the triggers are much more dependable (finish cup of coffee – put on gym shorts). Morning triggers are always there and the day has not polluted your plans yet.
  6. Fixed a time of the day that HAS to be the workout time. Cleared away tasks around that time to make sure I don’t get stuck with something else. ~Elle Kaiye
  7. Mentally preparing myself during the day for the evening workout helped. Mental preparation was important to prevent talking myself out of workout on the pretext of being “”exhausted”” or having “”more important stuff to do””. ~Elle Kaiye
  8. I exercise every single day. Every. Single. Day. That’s my secret. I don’t give myself the choice of whether to exercise or not. Every time that you give yourself a choice, you give yourself the opportunity to decide not to do something. ~Mark Cancellieri
  9. Make it into a game or do it as a social activity with a friend. The more enjoyable it is the likelier you are to continue it. ~Matthew
  10. Focus on effort: Set yourself goals around effort, not around results. ~Chiranth

Making exercise a habit isn’t necessarily about losing weight or looking skinny. I truly believe that regular exercise keeps you well balanced and healthy, mind and body. So check out the whole list and find which ones speak to you the most. Send me an email and let me know what has worked for you and share your own tips for everyone by commenting below.

With love + gratitude,


{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Tanja October 29, 2013, 10:54 am

    Stick to what you enjoy and what makes you feel good – even if it’s just brisk walking – because it will keep you at it and encourage you to add more effort. For some of us it’s hard to feel good-enough, but that’s exactly where to aim for. Be kind to yourself and the rest will follow.

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