Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~ Jim Rohn
There are good habits and bad habits, and some habits that are just an automatic part of our daily lives.
Take brushing your teeth for example – we do it each morning and night, without much thought; it doesn’t require a big, motivational push or a moment of inspiration from a post you’ve seen on Instagram in order to do it each day!
Imagine if working out could become as much as a habit as our daily hygiene routines? This is something many of us strive for because we know that a consistent commitment to exercise is the only way to truly achieve the fitness and body goals we desire.
However, it’s easier said than done; life gets in the way, our motivation plummets, and we find ourselves failing to follow through on the promises we made to ourselves.
Fortunately, there IS a way to make working out a habit. Here are 7 effective steps to turn your workout dreams into a reality.
1. Set SMART Goals
Goal setting is the most important step, not only for making your workouts a habit but also for making your workouts purposeful and more effective in the long term.
SMART goals are Specific; Measurable: Achievable; Realistic and; Time-based. Using this acronym to develop your goals can help you make big achievement in any aspect of your life, but it’s frequently used with great success in the fitness world.
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. An example of a general goal is, ‘I want to get fitter and stronger,’ whereas a specific goal would be something like, ‘I want to be able to deadlift 90kg for 3 reps by June 30,’ or ‘I want to run 5km in 20 minutes by the end of this year.’
Measurable: To make sure we achieve a goal, there needs to some concrete criteria for measuring our progress toward the attainment of each goal we set. When we measure our progress, we stay on track, reach our target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that motivates us and encourages us to continue.
Achievable: There’s no problem with shooting for the stars, and when you set your goals high, you develop the traits and personality that allow you to reach them because you see yourself as worthy of these goals.
However, it’s important to be able to recognise when you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment - and this is something only you can decide. It’s much better to set more easily attainable goals in the short term, which can lead you to the bigger, long term goals.
Realistic: We need to consider our time frame, our resources and how much we’re willing to change our existing habits. Our goals are probably realistic if we truly believe that they can be accomplished. We can also decide if a goal is realistic by asking ourselves whether we’ve accomplished anything similar in the past, or asking what conditions would have to exist for us to achieve this goal.
Time-Based: A goal is very unlikely to be achieved if it doesn’t have a timeframe. Without a timeframe, there’s no sense of urgency - so developing a habit to reach the goal is pretty much impossible. If you want to lose 5kg, when do you want to lose it by? ‘One day’ won’t work, and neither will ‘next week’... But if you anchor it within a realistic timeframe, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
2. Workout With a Friend
If your workouts are a drag, then you might be missing one of the best fitness accessories there is; company.
To make your workouts more fun, and maybe even something you look forward to - recruit a friend (or a group of friends). A friend can encourage you, motivate you, and help keep you accountable - so working out as a team is a great way to develop fitness habits. If someone is waiting for you at the gym, you’re much more likely to get there too!
3. Track Your Progress
Tracking your steps, calories burnt, heart rate and other aspects of your activity is not only kind of fun and a little bit addictive, but it also makes you more aware of how much exercise you’re actually getting during the day.
Sharing your activity in social apps, like Strava, is also a great way to solidify your new workout habits.
4. Find a Fun Way to Workout
To turn your scheduled torture session into a fun habit, you need to base your fitness regime around activities you enjoy. If you’re yet to find the type of workouts you genuinely enjoy - keep looking!
If you don’t like an activity and don’t see yourself coming to enjoy it as your fitness improves, then don’t keep forcing it upon yourself. There are endless ways to get fit, and many of them don’t involve a gym membership!
Perhaps cycling, rock climbing, tennis or swimming sound like more fun options for you than working out in a gym. By sticking to the things you love you’ll be more consistent in doing them and keeping fit.
5. Don’t Forget the Before and After’s
Although this is similar to point 3 about tracking your progress, it’s also worth its own point.
There’s nothing more powerful than seeing visual progress, whether it be progress-photos of your body, or progress videos of you lifting heavier weight lifts over time.
By visually seeing where you are now to where you were, will give you great motivation to keep going!
Just don’t forget to take photos and videos when you first begin a training program with your new goals!
6. Don’t Expect Perfection
After starting a new fitness routine, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have some disappointment along the way - so don’t expect everything to go as perfectly planned.
Whether it’s an injury slowing you down, or perhaps you haven’t quite reached a goal in time, it’s important to focus on the positives, rather than the negatives.
The first step is often the hardest, and you should celebrate acting on that decision to improve your health!
7. Give Yourself Rewards
Giving yourself healthy rewards along the way is a great way to keep the motivation going! For example, you may want to indulge in some healthy treats down at the local health food shop, or perhaps buy that extra Tropeaka product you’ve always wanted? Or maybe you might want to spend money on some extra workout clothes that make you feel great?
Whatever it is, give yourself rewards along the way to keep the motivation going. One of the best ways to do this is set those SMART goals as mentioned in point 1, and once you reach them, be sure to reward yourself for your efforts!
Even if you implement just one of these 7 steps, you’ll be well on your way to turning your workout chores into lifelong, healthy habits. Remember though, that fitness is a lifestyle.
Working out is just one aspect of the complete fitness lifestyle, and without excellent nutrition, your workout performance can suffer and it can become difficult to maintain a positive attitude towards exercise. To help keep your nutrition on point, check out our deliciously healthy recipes!