“Gee, I’d love to do that too, but I don’t have time to run.”
When I tell people about my passion for running, that’s one of the first comments I usually hear in response.
The underline assumption—or at least my skewed perception of it—“you must not have any life to log in that many miles… loser”
I might be exaggerating a bit, but what I’m sure of is that, on some level, most people acknowledge the importance of exercise.
I’m also aware that exercising regularly is something easier said than done. Meetings, work, children, and other commitments take a large chunk of our time, and at the end of the day, it’s tricky to generate the motivation or energy required for exercise.
That said, if you’re serious about making exercise a daily habit in your life, then you’re in the right place.
In today’s post, I’m throwing together my best tips for making exercise a priority and keeping up the habit (either for the first time or for the gazillionth time).
Find Your Why
Knowing your why is an essential way to stay on top of your goals. Sorting out your priorities begins with you asking yourself why.
For instance, do you have any kids?
Being a great healthy role-model is a big priority of many parents—as well as leading an active, productive, and long healthy life.
Regular exercise helps prevent a host of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, you name it—that can take a significant toll on your lifestyle.
Once you’ve come up with a list of reasons, write them down and save them to your phone’s lock screen or splash them on the fridge or mirror. That way, you’re constantly reminded of why and what you need to do regularly.
2. Set The Right Goals
Once you’ve decided on your whys, your next steps are to set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish.
Going from zero to maximum speed is never a good idea to start a workout routine, as you’ll mainly burn yourself out quite fast.
It’s vital to set reasonable goals that you know you can accomplish. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
Sure, feel free to set some challenging goals, but you also need to have some mini, achievable goals in place to help you get there.
If you’ve never exercised much before, don’t commit to marathon-like sessions. This leads usually leads to early failures, and you don’t want that.
Instead, plan to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes each day. Write down your goals, so you use them as a point of reference—they’ll also evolve as you get stronger and fitter.
3. Block Time
The next step is to make your exercise a priority is making time for it. Don’t just treat it as something secondary. Instead, design your schedule around it. Consider it as your most important activity.
Scheduling your sessions allows you to have something to look forward to.
Exercise at least three to four times a week. It can be first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or later on in the evening. Choose what works the best for you and stick with it.
The point is to schedule in exercise a few times a week. The rest is just detail.
For example, let’s say that you have decided to take up running three times a week. You’ll quickly build your endurance and strength with regular training like this.
During your planning session, determine when, where, and how you get your miles in.
Next, put your runs on your calendar. Just like you’d with an important work meeting or doctor’s appointment, add sweat time to your daily schedule, and if something comes up to respond with “sorry, I have an important appointment then.”
Once you have decided on the schedule, commit it to paper. Get out your calendar and block out those “run dates” on it for the next two to three months
4. Do it Early
Having trouble finding enough time for exercise?
Work out first thing in the morning—when the rest of the world, especially your kids, are still asleep.
Surveys have revealed that people who break their sweat early in the day tend to stay better consistent than those who exercise later in the day.
By logging in your workout first thing, you’re ensuring you’ve accomplished your daily dose of exercise before daily demands use up your time and energy.
This works even if you’re not a morning person. At least, you’re turning exercise into a priority by starting the day with it.
5. Put Money On the Line
A financial incentive may provide you with the motivation you need to show up and do what you have to do instead of succumbing to excuses.
That’s why putting some money on the line makes a lot of sense.
There are plenty of websites and apps that help you bet on your training goals. If you don’t want to stay accountable to your action, you lose money or have to donate to a charity whose cause you don’t support.
If you accomplish your goal, you’re either rewarded with a paycheck or donation to your favorite charity.
You can also pre-book your gym sessions—and pay for them in advance. Or plunk down some money for a race. Once you prepare an ongoing group class or a personal trainer, you’ll want to show up to get your money’s worth.
You can also reward yourself for showing up. Choose a fitness goal that you’d like to achieve, and save a few bucks every time you finish a workout.
Rewarding yourself can provide a great incentive to exercise even harder, especially since it’s easy to lose sight of your fitness vision. Truth to be told, we all lack motivation at some point.
There you have it. The above tips are all you need to make exercise, and taking care of yourself, a priority in your daily life. You just need to show up and follow the simple instructions. The rest is just detail.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.
In the meantime thank you for reading my post.
Keep Running Strong.