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4 Simple Ways to Create Exercise Habits That Really Stick

{Image Credit: iStock}

The road to becoming a healthier version of yourself is a challenging task. There are many steps a person may take to achieve these goals, but there are key things you can do to help make the transition less intimidating.

After all, the idea of heading towards the gym or starting to exercise on a regular basis may be as big of a mental battle as it will be on a physical level. This metaphorical hill gets all the harder to climb if you find yourself treading inactivity in your regular life, in comparison to how your past lifestyle may have looked. However, it is important to remember you deserve to feel proud of yourself for trying to take the steps you feel are necessary to improve your well-being. The process of becoming active again will not be the easiest at times, but there is no denying how rewarding it will be.

Set realistic expectations

It can be fun to sit at home and imagine yourself walking around as a super jacked bodybuilder turning heads on the beach, but it’s crucial to understand how getting back into exercise is a long journey. One that even for the most jacked of individuals started long before they ever caught your eye. If you set your expectations too high, too quickly, then you run the risk of being disappointed if you miss some of your initial goals. This can cause you to lose motivation, which is why it is so important to set realistic goals. For many people, your initial goal may not even be one that is “results based.”

Don’t worry about losing those 10 pounds — just try and start telling yourself you’ll try and get to the gym twice a week. The results will follow, but the most important thing you need to protect isn’t your body, it’s your mindset.

Don’t compare yourself negatively to past results

If you’re trying to learn how to get back into exercise routines, it might mean you have had a period of your life in which you were far more active. Before you start getting your sweat on though, keep in mind that you may not be as physically skilled in the gym in comparison to the younger version of you. This is also where setting realistic expectations comes into play. You cannot allow the ghost of former you haunt the present and past you. After all, if that ghost were to manifest itself it would do everything it could to motivate you — and that definitely would not — include mentally beating yourself up.

Your body may not be in the shape it once was, but there’s one way to get there and you may even know the way. Use your past fitness experience as a reminder that you really do love exercising, things may have just taken a backseat for a while and know that just because they have, that it doesn’t make you any less capable. If you’re just getting started on your journey to fitness, take some time to also look at the different types of exercises to make sure you find something you love. Perhaps you hate running on the treadmill, but you love using the indoor bike for cardio? That’s something that you may not know about yourself until you stretch your comfort zones to engage in different activities.

Don’t be afraid to ask a friend

{Image Credit: iStock}

Exercising can be an incredibly intimidating experience, so if you have a friend that may know the lay of the land — so to speak — don’t be afraid to speak up and reach out for some advice. Nothing will make going back to the gym more fun than having it double as an excuse for getting to hang out with some of your close friends who also happen to enjoy getting their sweat on. If you don’t have close friends you can rely on as motivators, don’t be afraid to reach out to the internet.

Not only are plenty of the instructional videos you can do at home incredibly motivating, but learning more about exercising or different techniques can lessen the intimidation you feel when re-entering the gym. The last thing you want to do is try and exercise, but do so with improper technique and end up in even worse shape!

Talk about it

Even if you don’t have a friend whose schedule may not mesh up with your own, don’t discredit the value in reaching out to those around you for encouragement. The more you talk about how you feel great about going to the gym, the more it’ll reaffirm that it’s one of your favorite parts of the week.

Similarly getting into a routine that perhaps includes talking about it with your partner may help serve as additional motivation on those days where it feels harder to get going. Keeping an organized journal of your thoughts and progress is also a nice reminder to show you just how far you may have come from your first day.

Be proud of yourself

If you are finding yourself actively making an effort to increase the amount of physical activity in your life, you should know it’s something to be incredibly proud of. Nobody is going to develop a habit — or any habit — if the association around it isn’t something positive. If you spend too much time beating yourself up about where you want to be, you’ll find that climb all the harder to make.

But if you know that if you worked out consistently for the next year, that 365 days from now you’d be feeling so proud of yourself then you need to understand that your tough days are just part of the journey. Did you not start working out the week that you had hoped? You can’t change that now, but if you start making that active effort and you do it in a healthy way, when you achieve your goals you’ll be stronger both mentally and physically then you ever thought possible.

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What are some steps you find yourself using to get back into exercise?

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