5 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Written by J.H. Gibbons

Fitness has been one of the most important things of my life. I learned about resistance training when I was 12 years old and I never looked back. I started in a fitness center within my apartment complex, graduated to the gym at my high school, moved onto the college gym and now I have been a member of LA Fitness for close to 10 years. My love for fitness runs deep. Exercise helped me through my darkest days because it gave me an opportunity to grow. I grew physically and mentally because of what I ended up putting my body through during these years. I have loved every second of it. But I wasn’t always as consistent and excited to hit the gym.

Some days, I allowed excuses to get in my way. In fact, I ended up missing many weeks from the gym once I graduated from college. I went from hitting the gym before class every morning to hitting the gym once every other week. The result? Well, I gained a ton of weight and stress from the life I was living. Without an opportunity to release my stress, I was always on edge. I was annoying to be around and I became a recluse. I found comfort in food instead of comfort in the weights and I ballooned up to 280 lbs.

Thankfully, I was able to become grounded again and I finally took the time to understand my purpose in this world. The bottom line is that I found my will to live again. It was through habitual behavior that I am on the path of accomplishing my goals, my dream body and the life I know I will love. I don’t want to be the only one in this position. Selfishly, I want you to enjoy this as well.

Let’s take a look at the five ways you can make exercising a habit.

Same Time, Every Time

What helped me to establish myself in the gym was the fact that I would show up at the same time every single day. Being able to stick to a schedule allowed me to block out a time and day in order to invest in my body and mental health. This helped me remain organized. I also established the fact that “the standard is the standard”. I love this statement and I live by it daily. If you’ve created a standard for yourself, there is no excuse to deviate from that standard.

If you’re a person who gets to work at 6:00 am every day, you must do that every day. You told your co-worker that you will be at their graduation ceremony? You will make it to that ceremony regardless of the weather or how you feel that evening. Once you set a standard, you must always go by that standard. Go to the gym based on the schedule you create and never deviate.

Progress is Motivation

What is the one thing that you do once you’re done working out? I know I do it all the time. I go to the locker room and I look in the mirror at my body. I admire the work I have put in to have this appearance. The pump and the lighting make it all worth it because I am able to see the difference between what I looked like when I started vs. how I look now. My hope is that I would continue to improve my appearance based on the goals I set. The one thing that keeps me motivated to consistently show up and work out as hard as I do is the progress.

Seeing my body change and grow motivates me to keep going. What would happen if I didn’t notice progress? I am more likely to stop training and change my regimen even if my regimen wasn’t the issue. This is an issue because we tend to quit too early. We would run away from the challenge before we allow our bodies to adapt to the stress we’re placing on our bodies. Be sure to track your progress. Whether you’re visually-pleased by your journey or you like to see the numbers fall on the scale, make sure that you know that you’re going somewhere.

Get a Training Buddy

Getting someone to train with you helps to make the workout sessions much more enjoyable. Even if you don’t have that person train with you, it does help to know that someone in the same vicinity has the same motivation to achieve their goals as you do. If you don’t have a friend to workout with yet, you can always make a new one at the gym. Simply ask someone if they need a spotter or ask someone to spot you in order to start that conversation. You can also compliment someone on their physique or the exercise their performing at the time. Please be genuine with your comments. Nobody likes a salesman in the gym watching others workout for the sake of just building up a collection of workout buddies.

Set an Attainable Goal

This one could be a bit difficult to do because we all want to believe that the goals, we set are attainable. But you must be realistic with yourself when you’re setting your goals. Is this workout schedule something I can stick with and complete weekly? Am I doing too many sets/reps for this exercise to be sustainable long term? Are these exercises working towards my goal and ultimately my purpose? These are questions you must answer as you continue to establish yourself in the gym as someone who has made a habit out of working out. The only person who can confirm if your goal is attainable or not is you. So, you owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself and ensure the goal you are setting is appropriate for your current lifestyle.

Fall in love with the process

This is literally the reason why I still exercise now. I love this shit! I love lifting heavy weights. I love warming up with cardio. I love meeting new people at the gym who have proven that they’re dedicated to working out and staying fit. I love setting and achieving my goals knowing that I am at a place now that I have never been before. I love setting the standard and committing to that standard. I enjoy the entire process. I want you to think of this example that has nothing to do with the gym. Ask yourself this question:

Would you work at the same place, doing the same exact thing, if you were not promised a paycheck?

If you answered no, I suggest you find a different place to work. My love and joy for fitness is unconditional and unwavering. If you expect to have a lifestyle change and become a healthier and fit person, you must fall in love with the process. The process doesn’t have to be rigid. But you must determine what will work for you and what won’t work. Once you set the standard, it is up to you to hold it.

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