Habits are an important part of an effective fitness plan. When you get into the habit of exercising and getting in shape, it’s easier to stick with the program and reach your goals. According to University College London, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit and turn a specific activity into something you do without thinking about it. Despite the length of time it takes, forming habits on your fitness journey is an important key to success.
The reason why habits are so important for fitness is that you’ve got to make exercise and healthy eating a natural addition to your day, rather than something you have to think about and agonize over. When you have healthy habits, it’s harder to forgo them, which is incredibly helpful when you’re trying to get in shape. It might seem overwhelming, but there are some things you can do to make those habits a natural part of your day. Here’s how.
Of utmost important when forming a new habit is having a plan. You’ll need to decide when and where you plan to exercise so you can build it into your day. You’ll need to plan what and when you’ll eat so you’re always prepared with a meal or a snack when you get hungry. Write a grocery list and menu and schedule your workout sessions. Over the next few weeks, these things will become second nature and you won’t have to pay so much attention to building them into your day. This plan will go a long way toward helping you form healthy fitness habits.
2. Connect to a Formed Habit
Experts suggest anchoring your new habit to an existing one. By connecting your new habit to a habit you already have, which increases the likelihood that the behavior you want to turn into a habit doesn’t fall by wayside. For example, perhaps you connect your trip to the gym to your commute home from work. If you stop at the gym every day after you leave the office, it won’t take long until it becomes a natural part of your day’s routine. Starting a new habit as part of an old one is a powerful way to ensure that you are able to stick with your new one without giving the old one.
3. Plan for Obstacles
Anyone who has embarked on a fitness journey will tell you that you’ll face obstacles along the way. Instead of letting them stop you from forming your new habit, have a plan for how to deal with the roadblocks along the way. Common obstacles include time, weather, pain, self-consciousness, cost, and space. Preparing for these instances will keep you on track. For example, plan to use the treadmill if it’s raining and you can’t go on your usual run. Or commit to a lunchtime walk if you run out of time to exercise in the morning. Being prepared for what can go wrong will keep you from throwing in the towel before you reach your goals.
4. Reward Yourself
You know how good it feels to get a reward, so use that as motivation to stick with your new habits. Making new habits and sticking to a fitness routine is difficult so giving yourself a treat now and then along the way will help you stay on track. Perhaps you see the latest movie with a friend at the end of a successful week or you buy a new workout outfit when you reach a small goal in terms of weight loss. They might not sound like much, but these simple rewards are very motivating and make forming new habits more enjoyable.
A fitness journey is a hard road to be on, but it’s definitely something that you won’t regret doing. The experts agree that fitness habits are a vital tool for future success, so it’s time to get started today.