How to make working out a habit

Exercising is one of those habits that everybody knows is good, but most still struggle to do it.

Let’s have a look at the benefits of exercising and how you can make working out a habit.

a picture explaining how you can make working out a habit
How to make working out a habit – key takeaways

The benefits of working out

The first benefit people connect to exercising is the physical rewards. You get in better shape, and your body becomes healthier. But besides the physical changes, it will bring, it can also help your mental health.

Being active can make you happier, more confident, and more disciplined. It can reduce stress, get you better sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression.

Working out is what’s called a keystone habit. It’s a habit that can create other positive habits and bring benefits besides those connected with exercising.

Related: Small wins and why they matter

How to make working out a habit

Exercising is one of the most important habits for self-improvement. Let’s have a look at 5 things you can do to make working out a habit.

Related: How to form a habit

Start with the basics

People on social media tend to make exercising seem like something complicated. They do this to make you believe that it is difficult and that you need to buy their services. In reality, it’s simple.

Start by following the basics. If you want to hit the gym, focus on compound movements. Do a variation of squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and pull-ups. Focus on learning good form for each exercise, making sure you target the right muscle groups safely. Once you’ve learned how to perform the lifts, you can begin to add weight and do more exercises.

Starting with the basics gives you a good foundation to continue lifting. You reduce the risk of injuries and long breaks that could have broken the habit.

Do exercises that you enjoy

Doing exercises you enjoy doesn’t mean that you should skip legs and only train chest and biceps. No, you should focus on doing the variations of the exercise that you enjoy the most.

If you hate pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs. If you hate squats, you can do hack squats. If you hate lifting weights, you can go for a run. There will always be an alternative that can make what you’re doing more enjoyable.

If you hate your routine, it will be much harder to get it done. You’ll rely on more willpower, and when you face a difficult day, you’ll be more likely to stay at home. Make your workout routine as fun as possible, and it will be easier to form the habit.

Related: Identity-based habits

Go with a friend

Everything is easier if you have someone to do it with. This includes starting an exercise habit.

Having a workout partner can make hitting the gym more fun. You can push each other, and it will be harder to skip a workout, as you’ll disappoint more people than just yourself.

Reward yourself

Placing a small reward for yourself at the end of your workout can make it seem more appealing. When it’s appealing, it will be easier to form the habit.

The reward can be something simple as a tasty protein shake or stretching. Anything you enjoy that doesn’t work against your goal can be used here.

Related: Habit tracking

Be patient

As with any other habit, you have to be patient with yourself. It takes time to get into the habit. The first couple of weeks of working out, you’ll be sore, and you still can’t see any changes in your body. But when you make it past these first couple of weeks, you’ll feel the mental benefits, and not long after this, the physical will show too.

Some days will be more fun than others. But when you consistently show up for yourself, even on difficult days, you prove something to yourself. You prove that you are disciplined. That you can stick to your goals and work hard, even when things get tough. This builds self-esteem and a belief in yourself that you can use to accomplish whatever you want in life.

Related: What happens if you miss a day of your habit?

Sum up

Exercising has many benefits for your physical and mental health. It’s a keystone habit, which makes it a great habit for self-improvement.

The five tips to make working out a habit is:

Start with the basics, do exercises you enjoy, go with a friend, reward yourself, and be patient.

What to read next

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9 life-changing Habits – how to make self-improvement easy

Habit Stacking – how to easily create good routines