5 Simple Steps to Start the Exercise Habit

1. Set a goal.

Set one easy, specific, measurable goal. There are several keys to setting this crucial goal:

Write it down and post it up.

Keep it Simple

Make it simple and easy. Start with a simple goal that is realistic and easily attainable, such as Five minutes of exercise a day. You can do that. Work your way to 10 minutes after a month. Then go to 15 after 2 months.  Make it easy to start with, so you can build your habit, then gradually increase.

Keep it Specific

Make your goal specific. It should be clear what activity are you going to do, at what time of day, and where.  Don’t just say “exercise” or “I’m going to walk”. You have to set a time and place. Make it an appointment you can’t miss.

Keep it Measurable

Make your goal measurable.  You should be able to say, definitely, whether you hit or miss your goal today. Examples: run for 10 minutes. Walk 1/2 a mile. Do 3 sets of 5 pushups. Each of those has a number that you can shoot for.

Keep it Timely

Make your goal timely.  Set a time for accomplishing the goal.  For example, stick to this one goal for at least a month. Don’t start up a second goal during that 30-day period.

2.  Log it daily. If you can log your workout, you will start to see your progress, and it will motivate you to keep going. Make it a habit to log it right away.   Keep it simple.  You could log just the date, time, and what you did.

3.  Report to others.  Make it part of the process that you have to report your daily workout to other people. It could be using an online log or forum, email, the phone, or just by telling your co-workers what you did this morning.  Be sure that these people know your goal and that you are going to report to them.  That way, they are expecting it every day.

Senior Couple Running In The Woods4. Do it with a friend.  People are more likely to maintain exercise routines if they work out with a group or friends.  Get a friend to join you in your goal, or join a running club or exercise class.  With plans to meet other people, you are more likely to show up to your workouts.

5. Add motivation as needed. The first four steps might be enough for you to get the habit going.  Use rewards, more public pressure, inspiration, whatever it takes to keep motivated.

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