Get ahead of your new year’s resolution by setting healthy habits now. But how do you turn working out into a habit? Here are 3 simple steps for seamlessly adding exercise into your normal routine to make living a healthy lifestyle easier than ever.
1. Schedule your workouts
Pick a set date and time to exercise – and stick to it! If you have trouble with the follow-through, try making plans to work out with a friend or booking yourself in for a group fitness class every week. If your schedule allows, try to keep your workout schedule the same from week to week (for example, attending a class at 3pm every Wednesday afternoon or meeting a friend every Saturday at 10am). This will help to form the habit and make it easier to stick to the routine.
Evidence suggests that people who assign their intentions with a schedule or deadline are more likely to complete what they intended. Specifically, one study showed that people who filled in the following sentence were 2 to 3 times more likely to exercise in the long run:
“During the next week, I will exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].”¹
Being specific with your intentions and committing to them can be tedious at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes.
2. Be Consistent
Several studies² have shown that small changes in behaviour repeated consistently over time are more effective for lasting improvements when compared to significant changes that were only occasionally adhered to. One study showed that a group of people consistently following 10 small lifestyle changes in diet and exercise lost 2kg on average after 8 weeks. After 32 weeks, the participants reported the “behaviours became ‘second nature’, ‘worming their way into your brain’ so that participants ‘felt quite strange’ if they did not do them.” ³
What to take from this? It gets easier! If you stick to the routine in the beginning, the habit will form and before you know it, it will be just as easy as brushing your teeth and making the bed. One 30-minute workout every week is better than one hour a fortnight – make the habit now and you’ll be thanking yourself later.
3. Start Small
If you are new to working out regularly, the idea of a 40-minute workout could be daunting. Instead of focusing on everything you want to do, just think about the first exercise. Try setting a timer or using a song instead of counting reps, for example “I am going to sprint on the treadmill for one whole song” or “I will do as many push-ups as I can in 5 minutes.” Once you have completed the first exercise, do it again for the next one.
Breaking your workouts down into manageable chunks can be a great way to get started without feeling too overwhelmed. If you are not sure what exercises to start with, have a chat with one of our personal trainers – they are more than happy to put you on the right track!
Good habits are hard to break, so set yourself up for success now and get ahead of the new year’s resolution rush! With summer quickly creeping up, there has never been a better time to get started. Not a member yet? Give iGym a try with the 7-day free trial! The trials are risk free with no strings attached and includes 24/7 access to the gym and all the wonderful group fitness classes.
1 How to Get Motivated to Work Out – https://jamesclear.com/exercise-habit
2 Healthy habits: efficacy of simple advice on weight control based on a habit-formation model https://www.nature.com/articles/0803771 and Experiences of habit formation: A qualitative study https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13548506.2011.555774
3 Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/