Fitness
Lifestyle

Exercise as a Keystone Habit: 5 Tips for Instilling this Life-Changing Practice

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It’s widely known that exercise leads to positive physical and mental changes. Your body works better, you get stronger, stay happier, and overall just feel better.

But did you know that making fitness a regular part of your days can start an avalanche of overall goodness in your life? It acts much like a rock thrown into water. The ripple effects start fast and spread wide. In other words, it’s possible for exercise to positively influence your entire life, beyond just your physique and mental state.

In his widely acclaimed book, The Power of Habit, investigative reporter and Harvard and Yale grad Charles Duhigg talks about keystone habits These are habits that act like chain reactions, setting off positive change throughout many areas of our lives (often in unexpected places). Duhigg cites research showing that when people start exercising regularly (even as little as once a week), they regularly start seeing improvements in other areas of their lives. For example, habitual exercisers in the study also started eating better, being more productive, acting with more patience, shopping less, and finding more peace in their day-to-day. Other good habits and positive behaviors seem to come easily and more naturally to people who make exercise a routine part of their daily lives. Isn’t this awesome news?!

So how does one even start making exercise a daily habit? This is easier for some people than others. But I promise you, once you start, you’ll never look back. Daily fitness has been part of my life for over 17 years, and now I can’t imagine not working out each and every day. It’s as natural as brushing my teeth. But it didn’t start off that way. I made an intentional choice to commit to daily movement, and you can, too. Here are five tips for making the habit an easier one:

    1. Schedule it. Speaker and productivity expert Michael Hyatt likes to say, “what gets scheduled, gets done.” Isn’t that true?! Commit to exercising and literally put it on your calendar, even if it’s not a set-in-stone fitness class or meet-up. Block out the time each day and don’t let anything else get in the way.
    2. Create triggers or cues. Habit experts talk about decreasing resistance to instilling a positive habit by using triggers or cues to make it happen. For example, pack your gym bag the night before or set out your workout clothes.
    3. Do something fun. Find a fitness activity that you enjoy! You get to decide what type of workout or movement to incorporate into your days. Pick something that you like doing to ensure you’ll stick with it. Take my fitness style quiz to get some great ideas!
    4. Build in a reward. Researchers have known for years that habits are often solidified by adding in a reward of some type at the end. Even just looking forward to the reward can motivate you to follow through. Maybe you treat yourself to a massage after a 7-day workout streak or enjoy some tea with a friend after exercising.
    5. Be consistent. Consistency can make or break habit formation! So when you’re tempted to slack off for a few days—don’t do it! You’ll just make it harder in the end. Stick to seven days a week if you can. But if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up. Simply focus on jumping right back in. After all, nobody’s perfect and we’re in this for the long haul.

Struggling to make fitness a regular part of your life? Having a plan and a tribe of women alongside you makes all the difference! Please reach out to me. I can help equip you to create lifelong habits of good health, self-care, and wellness.

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workout style?
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