You know you should exercise daily. It’s quick, free and easy to get started, and the benefits are obvious. But easy to do is also easy not to do – so you don’t. Here’s how to create a daily exercise habit that sticks.
The health benefits of daily exercise are clear; you get to be fitter, stronger, healthier, look and feel better and live longer. All good stuff, but not enough motivation for some of us it seems.
Less talked about are the mental and emotional upsides. When you start your day with exercise you prime your whole system for peak performance. Exercise energizes you – you’ll feel better, be more productive, more creative, more in touch with how you feel and generally all round awesome.
Want some awesome? Here’s how you get it:
1 – Write an easy exercise goal
There’s two things you might overlook here, so I’ll be very clear.
- Write it down. If it’s not written down, it’s not a goal. However, if you do write it down then you are actually going to follow through with this – so get it writ!
- Easy – I said EASY. If you’re just starting out then this is not the time to set a goal of running a marathon or doing handstand pushups. Those are great goals but exactly what you DON’T need right now.
What you do need is a small goal, based on effort, not achievement. Go for something super-easy like exercising for 10 minutes a day, or even five minutes.
You’re just creating a foundation here; building a habit of daily exercise. Goals like 10 pushups or 100 pushups, or running 10 miles, or whatever excites you, can come later. For now you just want to get into the habit of moving your body every day.
2 – Start small
Did I mention it should be easy?
Don’t be thinking you’re badass because you do 100 sit-ups on the first day – you’ll just look like a dumbass when you’re walking around holding your stomach and grimacing for the next 3 days!
And please don’t think you need to invest thousands of dollars in home gym equipment, protein shakes and fancy clothing. For now, just do some pushups – do it in your boxers. Hell, even do it naked if you have to – nobody’s looking at that time of the morning!
Bigger, better, faster, more can come later – and it will if you start right and keep going. For now start small. Build the daily habit and then build on that foundation once you get used to the idea and start thinking of yourself as a person who exercises and wants to do more.
3 – Do it first thing
Did I mention morning – oh yeah!
For two reasons, you want to do this first thing in the morning:
- The benefits of feeling awesome and being on top form all day – it’s a win-win.
- You don’t need to set reminders or fit it into your schedule. This will be the first thing you do on waking up. Well perhaps the second, but as soon as you get out of the bathroom. Before you get coffee or check Facebook – move your body.
And If you feel that you really must check your phone at 7 am… well get your ass outa bed at 6.45!
4 – Record your exercise
Make a chart, keep a log, use an app – whatever works for you, but make sure you record your daily exercise, and as soon as you’ve done it.
There are some great apps around, like Couch to 5k that start off real easy and come with built in motivation and record your progress too.
Bonus points if you also join a forum, use an app with a community aspect or just tell your friends or co-workers what you did each day. A bit of cheerleading is great, and the accountability helps you not want to miss a day.
5 – Just get going
Some days you might struggle, might not be feeling it, might be running late for work. Shit happens.
Make this commitment:
At least get out the door – if you’re running, or on the floor if you’re doing push-ups, before you make a decision. Of course, once you start you’ll probably follow through and then you’ll feel awesome for keeping your commitment to yourself and staying on track.
So just start.
And that’s it
More can come later.
I could make it more complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. You just need to get moving.
Here’s the challenge: 30 days – every day.
Can you do it?
I know you could, but will you?
I bet you won’t.
But guess what – I double dare you!! Now what you gonna do, eh?
What you should do now
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