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Is it finally time to commit to a new daily workout routine? Are you tired of saying you’re going to exercise and get into great shape and then not follow through with a plan?
If those two lines sound familiar, this should be a MUST READ article
Here are 15 habits to help you create an exercise plan that actually works. A plan that you can actually stick with long enough to results and enjoy the new healthier version of yourself.
(Side note: If you want the perfect morning routine, then check out this seven-step process for creating a morning routine that will become a vital part of your daily life.)
What You Will Learn
- 1. Make Sure You Choose An Enjoyable Workout
- 2. Start Small
- 3. A Daily Workout Routine needs to be DAILY
- 4. Use the 30-Day Challenge Method
- 5. Set SMART Goals for your daily workout plans
- 6. Schedule Your Workout Into Your Day
- 7. Use Social Media
- 8. Keep Your Exercise Gear Visible
- 9. Invest In Quality Workout Clothing
- 10. Incorporate a Charity
- 11. Use a Pedometer
- 12. Have a Backup Plan
- 13. Have A Helpful Support System
- 14. Schedule Rest Times
- 15. Think Long Term
- 16. (BONUS) What to do on your first day at the gym
- JUST DO IT!
1. Make Sure You Choose An Enjoyable Workout
Maybe one of the reasons that your previous workout routines have failed is because you did not enjoy the activity you were doing and you started to see the routine as more of a task or burden, instead of a fun activity that you’re excited about.
If you pick an activity that you actually want to do, you will start to look forward to that activity and be more likely to stick with it and keep a positive attitude about working out.
Some ways to help you choose a workout you like are to:
2. Start Small
If you have not worked out in a while, setting tough goals for your daily workout routine might make you start second-guessing your skills, feel overwhelmed and become unmotivated. It’s important to start small.
Don’t say you’re going to run a marathon in 6 months and train every single day if you have had no training. There’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps and accomplishing a few small goals before moving on to bigger goals.
A few small wins can help you motivate yourself are to focus on daily consistency instead of the amount of time you spend on working out. It’s more important to stay motivated than to focus on the length of time of your workout. Once your motivation is in place, then you can work on elongating your workout session.
Start with just one part of the exercise every day. If you’re doing a workout program on your own, just start with the warm-up and see how you feel. If you enjoyed the workout, you will want to see what the next part brings, which you will do tomorrow.
If you're unsure about your fitness level, try doing the Rockport Walking Test to assess your cardiac fitness. This will help give you a baseline on how “small” you should start.
3. A Daily Workout Routine needs to be DAILY
Show up! Half of the battle of getting into the habit of a daily exercise is showing up. If you can commit to getting to that workout class, then completing the workout is the easy part; you just need to follow the teacher’s instructions. If your mind is already committed to showing up, you’ll be more likely to stay and start the class.
Even if you don’t finish the class, at least you showed up and did a few of the exercises. (That’s more than you did yesterday right?)
Once you’re dressed in your workout clothes, comfortable walking shoes, and you are out of the door, tell yourself there’s no turning back and commit to showing up.
4. Use the 30-Day Challenge Method
You may have seen several of these 30-day challenges on social media. That’s because they work well and are great to use for help with motivation.
These challenges expect you to commit to just 30 days of doing a new activity. Thirty days go by in no time. Keeping that in mind will make your new workout routine more bearable.
You will be able to see the countdown on your calendar of how many days you have left and it will help push you right to the end.
It’s also motivating to know that you can always just quit after the 30 days is up. But you MUST give it the full 30 day trial.
5. Set SMART Goals for your daily workout plans
Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Like we mentioned earlier in the article, it’s important to start small. Start with one small daily goal and once you are accomplishing those goals, move on to the weekly, monthly and yearly goals.
Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals will make establishing the habit easier. Once you’ve written your goals down with a pen and paper, you will be able to visibly see what needs to happen and think of a plan on how to get there. (Here are some examples of short term fitness goals to give you some ideas. You can also read this post about SMART fitness goals for more information.)
It’s also important to track your progress daily. If you missed your workout because you had no other choice, write it down and don’t get down on yourself. If you missed your workout because ‘you didn’t feel like it’ then it’s time to set even smaller goals or find out why your motivation is lacking.
There are plenty of apps that will allow you to track your progress and set milestones. They will even give rewards, points, and reminders to help motivate you along your workout journey.
[Interested in finding out more about SMART goal setting? Check out my book: S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple – 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career Goals]
6. Schedule Your Workout Into Your Day
It’s important to make exercise a part of your schedule and not just an afterthought or something you will do when you have free time.
Your workout should be a priority.
Add your workout to your daily to-do list. It should be just as important as eating meals, going to work or drinking water.
Some of the best times to schedule your workout into your day are to use blocks of quiet hours with no distractions. Early in the morning or right after work are great blocks of time to use for working out.
As mentioned before, you can use your phone or workout apps to schedule alerts and reminders. This way, your phone will automatically remind you every day that it’s time to workout. (13 to-do list apps to help)
If you’re not using an app, then mark your calendar with a big red circle for workouts that need to be completed and a big red X for the workouts that you’ve already completed.
Using a calendar is a great visual reminder of your progress. It will encourage you to keep on going with your daily workout routine.
You can even dedicate a calendar for workouts only. You can pick up a new calendar at a dollar store and put it in a place that you can’t miss. Keep it and the marker in an easily accessible and visible place and then you will have no excuses. You can also check out these free workout calendars!
7. Use Social Media
Similar to marking your calendar but this one is a little more public. You can use social media and other available apps to publicly share your progress online. This will definitely help you stay accountable. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself in front of all of your friends, would you?
If you post on Facebook (or other social networks) and say that you are going to work out for 30 days, you will probably not want to go back on your word and besides, your friends can also help motivate you along the way and be with you while you track your progress.
Tip: A great workout app that will help you reach your workout and life goals that integrate with social media is the Coach.me app.
8. Keep Your Exercise Gear Visible
The most used excuses for not working out are that “I was too lazy to get dressed”, and “I didn’t have clean workout clothes”. You’re not going to be using this excuse, are you? In order to combat this problem, you should keep your workout gear where you can easily see it. Seeing your gear when you wake up will serve as another reminder that it’s time to workout.
If you place your workout gear right on your walking trail, this will decrease the number of steps you have to take to get dressed and leave room for no excuses.
Some other tips to help you with organizing your workout clothing are to prepare your workout clothes at night and designate an easily visible table or shelf for your clothes.
9. Invest In Quality Workout Clothing
Being comfortable while you exercise is important so maybe it’s time to finally invest in some good quality comfortable workout gear.
Proper and quality workout clothing and gear will also help to prevent injuries, motivate you to start working out and can curb the ‘sweaty t-shirt’ look problem.
Research what clothing and gear are best suited for your needs. If you are going to be running, then make sure you choose the proper cross trainers, lightweight clothing that doesn’t chafe and clothing with the added bonus of an iPod pocket or thumb holes wouldn’t hurt.
Set aside a budget for your workout needs. Good quality clothing will last you a long time so don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars. Remember that you’re investing in yourself, and your health is important.
If you are stuck on what brand to choose or where to shop, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Another easy way to shop is to check online to compare prices and check out the reviews of what other people think of those items.
10. Incorporate a Charity
When you think of doing something for the benefit of someone else, your motivation will skyrocket and this will give you added incentive for sticking with your daily workout routine.
Sometimes, there is an upfront payment required if your proceeds go to a charity. When you pay for something ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to stick with the program in order to get your money worth.
There are apps like Budge, Charity Miles and Check-in for Good that you can use to start working out for charity and find and join marathons for a cause.
11. Use a Pedometer
Pedometers are cheap these days so you have no excuse not to have one on you at all times. By using a pedometer, you will be able to track the number of steps you take each day.
A good place to start is to try and take 10,000 steps each day (or approximately 5 miles a day). When you are looking at the number of steps, and you have set the goal of 10,000, this will help encourage you to work on the small things like walk instead of drive to the local store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park just a few more spaces out of the way so you will need to walk further to your destination.
You should wear your pedometer every day and track your numbers at bedtime. Think of ways that you could have integrated more steps into your day. Perhaps its time to offer to walk the neighbors' dog (they might even pay you for it).
Tip: Why not start searching for a pedometer right now? We’ll make it easy for you. – Here is a great resource to help you find the best pedometer.
12. Have a Backup Plan
Distractions will happen and sometimes emergencies are unavoidable, but you should always have a backup plan that will help you get back to your daily workout routine as soon as your plate is clear.
It’s important to think about a backup plan before you need to implement your backup plan so it doesn’t throw your day off and discourage you from working out. Think about the most obvious obstacles you could encounter on a day-to-day basis and think of a workaround in order to reschedule. Commit to working out twice a day if you need to.
13. Have A Helpful Support System
Whether you choose to have a support system online or off, make sure you can talk to someone who will motivate you to get back to your workout regime. Find an exercise buddy or group that is just as dedicated (or more) as you. If you work out with your buddy or a group, it will force you to show up, since you won’t want to leave your friends hanging.
When working out with a friend, you will find that you are more willing to push yourself. It gets more competitive and nobody likes losing. A little competitiveness, a few laughs and the satisfaction of finishing your workout will make your workout time more fun and bring your friends closer together.
You should also try to look for a friend who is at the same physical level and has the same goals as you. You don’t want to limit yourself and do less work than you could be doing. You should push yourself to your limits so that you and your friend get better physically as time goes on.
14. Schedule Rest Times
When you have finally settled into your daily exercise routine, make sure that you don’t commit all of your time to working out, as over-training can be dangerous and cause long-term injuries and physical overexertion can affect all aspects of your life.
It’s important to give yourself a day off so your body can rest and come back stronger for the next workout. If you’re stuck in your routine and really don’t want to take the day off because you think it will get you off track, then try doing forms of less strenuous physical exercise like yoga, swimming or stretching.
15. Think Long Term
When coming up with a daily workout plan, the most important tips to keep in mind are to get motivated, stay motivated and make a promise to yourself to commit. (Read some of these exercise quotes for some extra motivation.)
If you want to live a long, healthy and happy life and curb diseases and life-threatening illnesses then you owe it to yourself to be nice to your body and treat it with respect. Following this guide will help you get started, but you are the only person who can actually do the work.
16. (BONUS) What to do on your first day at the gym
Are you daunted by the idea of working out in a gym? Not sure of the proper protocol? Unsure of what you should bring? Worried about fitting in? If any of these issues with gym workouts seem familiar to you I encourage you to check out this post from Routine Excellence: What to do on your first day at the gym
JUST DO IT!
So, when are you going to commit yourself to your new daily plan? We’ve given you all the tools necessary, so don't put it off, make a commitment and write down a starting date now. Stop putting off your workouts. Create a daily workout routine, build on it, change it as necessary – but keep going.
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Finally, if you want the perfect morning routine, then check out this seven-step process for creating a morning routine that will become a vital part of your daily life.)