5 Tactics to Establishing Successful Fitness Habits
Habit is what separates success and failure. I LOVE the above definition. "Especially one that is hard to give up" says it all... habits are hard to give up. Good or bad, habits become engrained within you, and define you as a person. The ability to establish good habits will determine how much success you have with fitness. Establishing good habits is not easy. It takes work, maintenance, a strong mindset and a little guidance....If only someone wrote a blog post about how to establish good fitness habits. Hmm....
Often times people view creating habits as some big, sweeping changes to their lifestyle. But in reality, its really just a few small changes that must must applied over an extended period of time. That is the key to establishing successful fitness habits. These habits are usually relatively simple and can be applied immediately. Here are 5 tactics that will help you establish successful fitness habits.
1) Hiring a Personal Trainer
Ok I'm starting off with the most obvious and effective one. And this isn't some self serving answer here. Hiring a GOOD personal trainer, is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Think of it as an investment in your health. A good personal trainer should help you create a healthy lifestyle, which is something that will long outlast any temporary physical change you may get from woking out. A good personal trainer should also make working out fun. Fitness should not be something you dread doing. A personal trainer should be able to help you design a program that fits your needs and pushes you at the same time.
Then there's the accountability factor. Hiring a personal trainer will also hold you more accountable. People are much more likely to go to the gym when they have committed to being there at a specific time, with someone waiting on them.
2) Setting a Schedule and Setting Reminders
I'm sure by now most you use your phones for an alarm to get you up in the morning. The next step up from that is using your phone as a scheduling tool. Scheduling time for the gym means you've made it a priority. The vast majority of successful people, such an entrepreneurs, set schedules and stick to them. Make your gym time one of the pillars of which you schedule your day around.
So that may mean going to the gym takes precedent over other, less important things in life. And really, what is more important than your health? There are multiple apps out there that can help with this. Like Google Calendar, which will set reminders and send you alerts when it's time to get your butt to the gym!!
3) Getting Your Clothes Ready and Putting Your Workout Shoes by the Door
Nikes, Reeboks, Adidas...It doesn't matter! What does matter here is the visual cue that reminds of you of your obligation to yourself. It reinforces your commitment to exercise that day. Visual cues help you stick to the good habits you're trying to establish. Try placing your shoes either at the foot of your bed or by the door the night before your scheduled gym time. That way you can't leave the house without seeing your shoes in your field of vision. Now all you have to do is pick them up, put them on, and get moving!
4) Writing Your Goals Down and Putting them in a visible place
This one is another tactic that is based off a visual cue. Writing down your goals is one of the key steps to actually executing them. If your goal is to "run 2 miles 3x per week" then write that down on a piece of paper and hang it on your bathroom mirror. In the day to day grind of life, it's easy to put your head down, and forget where your focus should be. Having that visual reminder of your commitment to yourself, will help you push through those days when your time and motivation are both limited.
5) Become More Intrinsically Motivated
Ok this one is a little more of a big picture observation. Lets get a little background on this topic. When it comes to motivation, there are 2 types of people. Intrinsically motivated people, and extrinsically motivated people. Intrinsically motivated people tend to motivated by factors that are within themselves (internal). While extrinsically motivated people tend to be motivated by factors that are outside themselves (external). Research has shown that people who are more intrinsically motivated tend to achieve more.
So how can we apply this??... When accomplishing a goal, lets say a fitness goal, try and make the reason you want to accomplish your goal about you. Not about someone, or something else. Making a goal about something external will not stand the test of time. When it comes to fitness goals, many people simply want to get "toned" or "lean out". But often times these physical goals are derived because people think they SHOULD look good. This is often based on the expectation of someone else, or societal pressures. Start by changing your reasoning from looking good for someone else, to feeling good and being consistent for YOURSELF.
The thing to remember about working out is, it's AWESOME! I think its something that people tend to forget. There is nothing like feeling your own strength improve over time. It's of the most powerful feelings in the word. That should get you motivated. However, that's not enough....While motivation will fuel the fire and get you started, it's habit that will keep you going.