How to Make Fitness a Lifelong Habit

(Photo: Instagram / @nikewomen)

Living a new type of lifestyle is hard work, Womanistas! We truly understand that real world struggle in making adjustments amid the hustle of your busy lifestyle. However, just like adequate sleep and clean eating, stability in our exercise routines is essential for bettering our health and strengthening habits.

By thinking of exercise as our personal secret weapon through single-minded motivation, there are effective strategies we can use to make exercise an easier habit to integrate into our lifestyle. And, here's the real kicker — you can make it a lifelong habit.

Make it Convenient
One of the most significant aspects in solidifying such a habit is the ease. Sure, technology has been very helpful with trendy tech wear that keeps us accountable and convenient, but the same holds for fitness regimens. In life, we're always going to come across excuses and obstacles that stand in the way of important objectives. Don't let exercise fall behind. If you want that morning workout, prepare breakfast and lay out your clothes the night before. If you want to join a gym, pick one close by. If nothing is in or around your neighborhood, continue self-accountability through convenience by investing in equipment.

Start Easy
The struggle in trying to make exercise a habit has never felt more real, Womanistas. But if you start small, you really can't say no. Sure, it's totally counterintuitive to start out with smaller goals, but you want to set yourself up for gradual success through habits — not risk burnout or injury early on. Start super easy so that even if you're feeling a slump in determination, you can break the cycle effortlessly. For instance, find ways to get started in just five minutes rather than focusing on a whole workout. Begin with minor objectives, like getting your workout gear and running shoes on, and then head on that walk. Simple! Once you implement small habits to drive goals, it helps to stick.

Consider it 'Me Time'
If you follow The Rock on Instagram, you probably notice the former wrestler turned actor engages in hour-long, sweat-soaked workouts. While it's inspiring to some, it's also daunting to others who regard exercise as punishment — particularly one that makes your body cry for days. Not all routines have to be grueling or seen as an offset to indulging in less-than-healthy foods that have us judging ourselves. A study from Syracuse University suggests the more displeased people are with their bodies, the more likely they actually avoid exercise. Instead, consider exercise time as "me time" where you can de-stress, embrace your abilities and most importantly, engage in positive talk regarding you body.

Think About Strategy
When we exercise, we usually focus on the immediate outcome rather than the implemented strategy. Unfortunately, this path leads to thinking if one thing isn't working, it's not worth pursuing. Time to hit that buzzer -- you're wrong. Like every other passion in life, stop viewing something potentially fun as failure. Embrace moments and focus on the value exercise brings by evaluating the rewards of your time away from everyone. Not only will you feel better both mentally and emotionally, but others will notice too.

Focus on a System of Goals
While starting with goals can help focus on what you want most, behavioral science expert James Clear suggests we focus on building the system behind the goal. Let's say you're extremely interested in taking part in this summer's Mud Run. While Mud Run 2016 is your goal, the system that needs your attention is the training for a month. When you choose to make exercise a lifelong habit, what counts most initially in those establishing months is building the system around objectives and sticking to them. The results are a bonus.


Revel in Your Victories
Break out the confetti emoji, because one of the best ways to track your habit is through journaling and celebrating success. By highlighting progress week-in and week-out, not only are you boosting self-esteem, but you're also setting yourself up for continual objectives that will amplify motivation. Every time you see growth in your routines, smile, tell all your friends, and treat yourself to that new pair of sneakers.