It takes about 21 days – or three weeks – to form a habit. As it relates to making fitness part of your routine, I’d definitely agree with that estimation. After about three weeks of repeatedly getting your tired butt out of bed and to the gym (or going after work if evening workouts suit you better), it’s a lot harder to break that habit than it is to maintain it.
You don’t believe me, huh?
Well, I thought I’d use today’s post to give ya’ll some ideas and recommendations for building fitness into your everyday routine, versus a chore that you’d do anything to push to the back burner.
It’s especially timely since today was one of those days where I was thisclose to staying in bed and skipping my workout entirely. But, I forced myself up (again, knowing that my sister would be up and at ’em was extra motivation) and managed to do a shortened version of one of my favorite Cathe workouts, Butts & Guts. The main reason I firmly believe I was able to get my act together this morning is because fitness has become ingrained into my morning routine, I actually feel a little bit “off” if I skip a morning workout in favor of an evening workout, or *gasp*, if I skip a workout all together.
So, here are my tips for forming your own fitness habit:
- AM or PM? Decide – are you a morning person or a night person as it relates to getting your sweat on. Some of us are just more apt to get a better workout in first thing in the morning when there are no distractions or excuses preventing you from working out. For others, mornings are tough enough as it is – you’re either not a morning person AT ALL or you have a tough commute and getting up any earlier is just impossible. Regardless, if you can commit to either an AM or PM workout schedule, it’ll be easier to make it habit-forming (versus switching it up one day AM, the next PM).
- Start slow – The best advice I can give here is to take it slow to start. Don’t try to amp up your routine from zero to sixty the first week out. Aim for 2-3 days of workouts to start and build from there. My fitness “habit” took a lot more than 21 days (more like years) to form into the more extensive regime it is today. I wasn’t always this crazy
- Mix it up – the more variety you can incorporate into your workouts right off the bat, the better off you’ll be. You won’t be bored – and you might look forward to your workout ‘o the day if it’s not monotonous. For example, go for a run one day, the next day do some type of weight lifting-based exercise and the next do yoga.
- Set a goal – maybe you’re going on a trip this spring and you want to look super-fab on the beach, or you’re in a wedding and want to rock out that bridesmaid dress or you just want to feel healthier and setting a fitness routine is your “me” activity (this is my main goal, for ex.). This is your time to be selfish, truly selfish – fitness should be about you and nobody else. So go big, go bold and go as selfish as you want. This is one area in life where selfishness is a good thing IMHO
- Don’t stress – making fitness your “me habit” doesn’t mean you have to eat like a bird, give up your favorite treats and feel deprived all the time. It’s all about balance, going to extremes (either the gorging extreme or the deprivation extreme) is not entirely healthy and let’s be real, life is too short to give up your favorites (for me, giving up wine or pizza or chocolate entirely would make me pretty darn miserable!).
I can’t tell you that the first 21 days will be easy but I promise, once you set that habit, it is FAR harder to break it than you’d think. You’ll miss the endorphin rush after a good workout (runner’s high anyone??) and quite honestly, the strength, energy and positive attitude you’ll have after a good sweat-fest is pretty hard to replicate with other activity, at least for me. 😉
So, that’s my advice ‘o the day.After a long week at work and a pretty great workout week for me, I’m ready to call it a day (and yes, I realize it’s only 10:15am!) and kick off what should be a pretty darn fab weekend. Cheers!