4 Ways to Fall in Love with Exercise: Part 2
As mentioned in Part-one of this series, falling in love with exercise can be very difficult. We discussed how you can tie your values to your motivations to exercise. In this part, we’ll get even more practical as we discuss how to make exercise as regular and frictionless as brushing your teeth.
#2: Small, Simple Habits
If you’re reading this, it’s reasonable for me to assume that you brushed your teeth this morning. While you’d be quick to agree with me (hopefully), you probably can’t remember the exact experience of this morning’s oral hygiene session. This is because for most people, brushing one’s teeth in the morning is such a regular habit, that it’s become automatic- So automatic, in fact, that we don’t even remember it. If this is you, congratulations! You have successfully built a habit, but how do you make exercise as much of an automatic habit as brushing your teeth?
First of all, it is much harder to make exercise a habit than teeth brushing. This is because exercise typically requires more preparation, time, and effort than brushing your teeth, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make it a regular, powerful habit.
To do this, start by reducing the friction of the activity as much as possible. This simply means that you should make getting into your exercise routine as simple as possible. For example, how likely do you think it would be for me to go to gym if my gym clothes aren’t washed, I can’t find my running shoes or earphones, and my car has almost no petrol in it? Conversely, How easy would it be for me to attend gym if my gym bag is packed and ready the night before, my gym shoes are in their usual place, I have my gym clothes washed and ready, my water bottle is filled, and my car has petrol in it? More likely, right? The secret to forming discipline to exercise is to plan ahead to make it as easy as possible for your future self to get into the gym and get moving. If you plan to train tomorrow morning, do everything you can tonight to limit any excuses you might have tomorrow. If you’ve worked hard to get everything ready for tomorrow today, then it would be a waste of all that effort to not train, right?
If you’re planning to join a gym or exercise class, stop right now and do this simple exercise first: Have your training clothes, bag, bottle, earphones, etc ready for gym every morning for one month. Be disciplined to take them out every morning, and to be ready to exercise at the right time every day. If you can do this for 30 straight days, then you’ve proven to yourself that you are disciplined to maintain a regular exercise schedule. Once you’ve developed that habit, then you’re ready to start joining a gym or exercise class. This task may seem daunting for you, but it’s a huge step toward you achieving your exercise goals.
Put in the hard work behind the scenes now so that you’re relying on habit, rather than force of will to get yourself training. This is a big step toward doing for your body what you already do for your teeth. Habit Expert James Clear puts it brilliantly when he says, “We don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our habits.” Here’s to a healthy smile and a healthy body!
Be sure to look out for part-three of this blog series on how to fall in love with exercise. In the meantime, let us know what you thought of this article. If you have any suggestions for future articles, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to connect with you.