The year 2016 is in the past. The year 2017 is among us. It’s time to take action! Many people strive to set New Year Resolutions. Statistically speaking, about two-thirds of the adult population in the US set some type of fitness goal. Unfortunately, only about 9% of the population manage to stick to their resolution. The ultimate fix: make exercise a habit. “But how do I do that”, I hear you frantically shouting. Personally, I’ve found 3 key methods to make completing your exercise goal stick.
1. Set the Goal
Now, I know what you’re thinking: I already set my goal! Sure, you might have come up with a general idea of what you want, like losing weight or going to the gym. Unfortunately, those kinds of goals are vague and don’t last long. In order to set a solid goal, it must be specific! A good example would be: to lose 5% body-fat by the beginning of March. This kind of goal allows you to easily visualize what you want. There’s a specific number to shoot for and a specific deadline. This will overall keep you motivated and be the driving force that gets you started.
2. Start Small
Personally, I believe that this step causes the majority of people the most problems. They allow their ambitions to take over. Yes, it’s great to be ambitious! But ambition alone doesn’t always foster rewarding habits. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Start off by simply doing small tasks that will get you exercising and then build up from there. This will allow you to develop the habit that ultimately let’s your goal stick. For example, if your goal is to complete a workout regimen involving 6 workouts, you may want to start by simply forcing yourself to head to the gym and completing a single workout rather than all 6. This can be completing a few sets of bench press or perhaps running on the treadmill for 30 mins. Which workout you perform isn’t entirely important. What’s important is consistently doing the work out or desired exercise enough until going to the gym is a habit. You’ll want to be in a position in which leaving for the gym is as natural as brushing your teeth or putting clothes on in the morning–it shouldn’t require much active thought. Afterwards you can move on adding more workouts to each session until you achieve the desired result of completing your 6-workout regimen.
3. Bring Friends
This one isn’t a necessity by any means but I believe that it helps tremendously. When anything is enjoyable, you’re more likely to do it, right? Having friends tackle a goal with you can be an extremely valuable asset. Their determination can fuel your drive and vice-versa. Also, having a friend keep you accountable can help you push through during times when you feel your willpower fading (and it will fade every once in awhile). Some believe that having friends makes exercise less intense but I don’t consider that to be inherently true. My belief is that poorly defined goals are the prime culprit. And even if your workout isn’t as intense as it could be, it’s still preferable to not working out at all.
Eventually, you’ll find a routine that’ll stick, allowing you to form the desired habit. Your willpower won’t be taxed by exercising. In fact, it’ll be automatic! You won’t find the need to create excuses. Once that occurs, it’s time to maintain the habit! You don’t want your progress to be for nothing.
This is a guest blog post written by Lenny Richardson. Lenny is a senior at Pennsylvania State University and founder of CollegeConqueror, located at his blog www.lennyrich.com. His goal is to provide high school and college students with information to make their collegiate years simpler, easier, and more fulfilling.