32 Steps to Make Working Out An Enjoyable Habit

Finding the motivation to workout on the regular can be a challenge. There are even more challenges once you get started. That being said, a new book is challenging the idea of getting our motivation from super fit bodies with the premise: you'll be motivated at first, but it won't keep you exercising in the long run.

Steve Scott, author of Exercise Every Day: 32 Habits for Building The Exercise Habit, shares his belief with FEMAIL that searching for motivation can be damaging to your results overall, so, instead, it's best to create routine.

Here are Scott's 32 step-by-step habits to get you going for a lifetime of success:

Tactic 1: Start at the End

 'In order to exercise on a regular basis, you need a clear picture of your long-term goals. This means identifying what you most want in life and then working your way backward.'

Tactic 2: Get Educated

'Each type of exercise has its own unique features, advantages, and challenges. Once you’ve picked an exercise program, find two to three resources to learn from. This should help you address any “lack of knowledge” regarding a particular form of exercise. With these resources, you can put yourself ahead of most practitioners in terms of knowledge.'

Tactic 3: Try One Exercise at a Time

'You may have identified a few different exercise categories that pique your interest, but it is best to start with one, and only one. Starting small will help you stay consistent and prevent those feelings of overwhelm.'

Tactic 4: Use 'Habit Anchoring'

'"Habit anchoring” is a concept that’s gained popularity. Commit to a very small habit change and then take baby steps as you build upon it. The trick here is to attach the new habit to something you already do on a daily basis.'

'After I complete my work in the morning, I will take a 10-minute walk before eating lunch' or 'After I complete my morning routine, I will complete a five-minute yoga session.'

Tactic 5: Make Micro-Commitments

'Another reason people lack exercise motivation is they create goals that are impossible to achieve. They start new exercise routines with huge expectations and a 25-part plan for how they’ll experience massive changes. These people often start out strong, but somewhere along the line, their perfect plans fall to pieces.'

Tactic 6: Remove Exercise Obstacles 

'One way to demotivate yourself is to succumb to the obstacle of not having the “right equipment” to exercise. As an example, let’s say you miss a day or two at the gym every month because you forgot to pack a bag of clothes. The solution? Be like a Boy Scout and “always be prepared.” '

'You may have identified a few different exercise categories that pique your interest, but it is best to start with one, and only one,' says Scott

Tactic 7: Make Exercise Fun

'Boredom is one of the biggest excuses people give for not exercising. Yes, fitness is great and you may realise the benefits, but the truth is exercise can be repetitive and not always the most enjoyable activity in the world.

'Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to fight boredom in your exercise habits: Try different exercises, try group exercises or try different locations. On a nice day, get out the gym.'

Tactic 8: Take Advantage of Technology

'A great way to get the motivation you need to keep working out is to track your exercise habits and compete with others. Often, this can provide that extra push when you don’t feel up for exercise. A great way to do this is with apps and wearable devices that monitor your activity.'


Tactic 9: Be Accountable

'A way to solidify your commitment is to join forces with others and enlist their help. Studies have shown that having accountability when trying to make lifestyle changes (including exercise) has a positive, long-term impact.'

Tactic 10: Overcome Lack of Results

'It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re not hitting your goals like you anticipated. Trust me, you’re not the only person who looks in the mirror after the first workout and expects to see a noticeable difference. There’s just something wired into our brains to make us think we need to see immediate results.

'Don’t let lack of immediate results prevent you from experiencing the long-term benefits of building the exercise habit.'

Tactic 11: Relate Exercise to a Goal 

'A great way to be motivated to exercise every day is to tie the habit to a short-term (or even a lifelong) goal. Goals take an intangible idea and set a plan for making it real. Without this plan, your fitness dreams will be almost impossible to achieve.

'As an example, I’ve already mentioned that one of my core exercise goals is running marathons. One reason I stick to this habit is because I have a lifelong goal of completing a marathon in each state in the U.S. That’s a total of 50 total marathons.'

Tactic 12: Re-Align Your Notion of 'Exercise'

'Any type of movement is considered exercising your body. Whether it is cleaning your house vigorously, walking to the mailbox, dancing in the kitchen with your kids or going up and down stairs as you put away laundry—it’s all exercise.

'Really, if you a stick to an activity that raises your pulse, produces sweat and can be done on a consistent basis, then (in my opinion) that’s good enough to be considered exercise.'

S'Boredom is one of the biggest excuses people give for not exercising.'

Tactic 13: Stop Being Obsessed with Goals

'Okay, I know…this strategy contradicts the section where talked about the importance of setting goals. However (in my opinion), there is a fine line between being goal-oriented and goal-obsessed.'

'Goals are powerful things in fitness. Everyone should have goals; however, like anything else, too much of a good thing can have a detrimental impact.'

Tactic 14: Overcome Plateaus

S'The truth is, there will come a time when repeating the same routine won’t yield the progressive results you once saw. In fact, you might even see a decrease in results.'

'If this happens, don’t panic. Here’s why: It takes the body about 4 to 6 weeks to adapt to a new workout.

'When the body adapts to the new regimen, it will become more efficient, consuming less energy, using fewer calories and storing less fat. You may not see the fat burn and drop in weight like you experienced in the beginning, but remember that this is normal and to be expected.'

Tactic 15: Deal with Your Self-Consciousness

'A major mental stumbling block is when you feel like you’re being judged by others. Perhaps you’re scared to go to the gym or perform your exercise outside where people can see you.'

'Any time you put yourself out there to make a change in life, there will be people who want to pass judgment and bring you down. Usually, it is because of their own personal problems or hard times. It’s more about them than it is about you, so pay them no attention and get on with your bad self!'

Tactic 16: Deal with Self-Sabotage 

'The truth is we are often our own worst enemies. There’s that little voice in your head giving you many reasons not to do things. The reasons for this often boil down to insecurities, fear and procrastination.

'Take time to write out your personal self-sabotage excuses. Knowing what excuses you tend to use gives you the power to recognise the excuse for what it is when it comes around.'

Tactic 17: Get More Time

 'If you feel like you are continually short on time and unable to exercise, there is a serious question you need to ask yourself: How badly do you want to meet your goals? Are you willing to sacrifice something in order to meet them?

'If you take the time to really assess how you spend the minutes and hours of your day, you can, without a doubt, find ways to free up more time, even if it’s just 15 or 20 minutes a day in five-minute increments. You’ll discover there are activities you can eliminate if you are willing to make some small sacrifices.'

Tactic 18: Maximise Small Pockets of Time

'One of the reasons I like activity trackers (like the Fitbit) is because they counts steps. So instead of committing to 30 minutes each day, you make “micro-commitments” to get up and move around as often as you can…even if it is for five minutes here and there.'

'These five- to 10-minute pockets of exercise, a few times each day, can easily add up to 30 minutes or more of exercise time.'

Tactic 19: Exercise in the Early Morning

'Sure, it’s not fun to get up early in the morning to do your workout, but you may find that creating this habit is your secret weapon for incorporating exercise into your day. You don’t have to wake up two hours earlier to squeeze in some exercise.'


Tactic 20: Exercise in the Early Evening

'You may discover it relieves stress and helps you unwind after a busy day. And it’s also a much healthier way to relax than alternatives such as heavy drinking or gorging on junk food.'

'Now, there is a myth that exercising at night keeps you awake. This is simply not true.'

Tactic 21: Communicate with Family

'The more open and honest you are about your needs, the more you’ll discover that people are willing to accommodate your schedule.'

Tactic 22: Schedule Your Day to Prevent Interruptions

'Start each day by scheduling when you’ll exercise and identifying every possible thing that could interrupt this activity. Then, make a series of plans for how you’ll handle the interruptions if/when they come your way. '

'Don’t underestimate the power of making plans. We often look for subconscious excuses to not exercise, but when you have a contingency plan for every situation, there will never be a reason for missing a workout.'

Tactic 23: Pay Attention to Weather

'One of the most common and annoying interruptions of them all is the weather. What’s funny is that we live in an age of limitless information, yet one of the biggest excuses you hear for people not exercising is they didn’t expect the weather to be so wet/snowy/cold/hot/dark. However, if you’re willing to plan a little, weather shouldn’t be a factor about 99 percent of the time.'

Tactic 24: Handle Major Life Disruptions

'There is a fine line with disruptions. You should plan ahead and know what you’ll do when they pop up. At the same time, keep in mind that you’re human and there will be times when you slip. It’s equally important to forgive yourself for those occasional lapses. '

Tactic 25: Increase Your Energy Levels

'Don’t succumb to the desire to quit when your energy levels are low. Instead, look for ways to increase your energy levels so you can continue to meet your exercise goals. '

Tactic 26: Find a Low-Cost Exercise Program

'One major obstacle people often experience is not having enough money to exercise at a nice gym or purchase expensive equipment. The good news is that you don’t have to do these things in order to stay in shape.

'Exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing. You can walk around in any old clothes and get some exercise. Even running can be done in some comfortable clothes and shoes; special running clothes are not essential.'

Tactic 28: Build a Home Workout Routine

'Working out at home has become a popular alternative to gyms. Between workout DVDs, exercise-based video games, YouTube and skill-learning websites (like Skillshare and Udemy.com), you can build a fitness routine from the comfort of your home.'

'The trick is to find a workout routine that works for your space constraints and budget. Both may be limited for you, but this is not a valid excuse to do nothing because there are always inexpensive, and even free, exercise alternatives.

'For example, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and stretching programs—not to mention outdoor activities such as walking or running—require nothing but your time and effort.'

Tactic 29: Know When You’re 'Hurt' or 'Injured'

'There’s an old adage when it comes to pain and competitive sports: Ask yourself: “Are you hurt or injured?”'

'People often make mental excuses that they can’t exercise because it’s painful, but it is important to keep in mind that not all pain is related to an injury. So, what can you do about the normal “pain” and discomfort associated with exercise?'

'Sometimes a good exercise day can just cause fatigued muscles, especially if you pushed yourself and “overdid” it. This is natural. Keep at it and the same level of exercise will not cause pain in the future, as your body will become acclimated to the higher level of intensity.'

'Still, that doesn’t stop the pain of fatigued muscles from being de-motivational, does it?'

'What often develops is something called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), also known as muscle fever, which is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to several days after strenuous or new exercise.


Tactic 30: Consult a Doctor for Injuries

'It’s always best to consult a doctor when you think you may have an injury. In fact, it is better to err on the side of caution with this. '

'When it comes to your health and well-being, it is important to be sure you get the best information and go over all of your options. If a doctor seems unwilling to discuss your concerns or answer questions, find a doctor who will. As always, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.'

Tactic 31: Find a Substitute Activity

 'Sometimes you simply can’t do your preferred exercise routine, but there are numerous exercises that can be done—with so many variations and modifications—that you shouldn’t have a problem finding some way to work out.

'If you can only do 15 minutes of some stretching or low-impact movement, then that’s okay.'

Tactic 32: Evolve Your Exercise Program

'As we get older, life puts limits on what we can do. Exercise can help us live longer and stay active for a longer period of time. However, as age and injury intrude, your fitness choices narrow.

'One of the most significant “habits” you can incorporate in your life is the ability to mentally re-frame what you find acceptable for your exercise routine.'

H/T: Daily Mail

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