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How to Make Exercise a Habit that Sticks

By Sara Butler

Motivation when it comes to exercise is easier said than done. Everyone seems to have the best intentions when they embark on a new exercise regimen. The problem is that, weeks down the road, it can be difficult to remember why you started down this road in the first place.

To be successful when it comes to exercise, you have to make it a habit. That is how you stay motivated and meet your long-term goals. So how do you do that? Here are a few tips to help you make exercise a habit that sticks.

First, What is a Habit?

You can probably guess what a habit is -- a pattern of behavior you perform consistently and repeatedly. When you really think about it, you already have habits, so you already know deep down how a habit is established.

The keys to establishing a habit are a cue, a behavior, and a reward. For the cue, it could be something such as packing your gym back the night before or setting your workout clothes out on the bed. This is the first step in preparing you for your workout. The behavior is working out. Finally, the reward is just about anything that motivates you, from fitting back into your favorite jeans to how good your body feels.

The first thing you should do identify cues that are keeping you from currently working out like you want to. Once you figure all that out, you can attack each part.

Plan the Cues

To make working out a habit, you should choose a very specific cue. This is a sort of ritual that will signal to your brain that it's time to exercise. A few suggestions include:

  • Setting an alarm on your calendar
  • Laying out your exercise gear
  • Writing down a workout plan

Plan the Workouts

This is the part that people often fall short on. They simply show up to the gym without a plan of attack but if you want to be successful, then you must plan. If it's been a while since you worked out, you can't jump right back in where you left off, either.

Instead, identify what you're going to do and for how long. Make sure your workout is doable and that you have realistic expectations about what you can and can't do. Start small and work your way up from there!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Round Rock, Tex.

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