Little things make a big difference - sometimes all you need is one thought to make a lasting change. Like “I’m not going to buy my morning Starbucks anymore”, or “I’m going to start planning my outfit the night before to save myself time.” Or, “I’m going to start exercising.”
You and I both know how great exercising is. The benefits are endless and can be unique to each of us. Plus, we don’t even need to leave the house to do a workout anymore - there are hundreds in front of us at the click of a button. But if it were that easy, we’d all be doing it already wouldn't we?
Making the decision to exercise more is easy. Making it a habit is the part that’s difficult.
When I wanted to add fitness into my life over two years ago now, I really struggled. I hadn’t really exercised before and didn’t know where to even begin. But I also knew that I didn’t have any excuses.
I know quite a few people in my life and online who are thinking about adding more exercise and intentional movement to their life. So today I wanted to share from my experience how I made exercise a permanent part of my routine and how you can too.
#1 Visualise What It Can Do
Some people will tell you to look at inspiration online and that might work for them. But not for me. I like to visualise the results on my own body.
Obviously if you’re five foot with a big bust and you look at an image of a six foot model with long limbs - that just isn't realistic. And that’s where the “fitspo” gets too much for me. Your results aren’t going to look like anyone else’s so you should visualise them through your own body.
And you will get results. Feel free to follow motivational health and fitness people on Instagram - their tips are a big inspiration to me. But when it comes to the results you want for your body, visualise them on your own.
#2 Set a Goal
We’re talking baby steps here. It’s no good saying your goal is to run a marathon when you’re just starting out. You could start off by saying your goal is to work out once a week. Then up to twice a week. Then keep upping it until you’re at a schedule you feel comfortable with.
Once you’ve started your workout, you’ll finish. It’s getting there that counts. This week I set myself a goal of completing my first 5-day exercise challenge. Because I set it as a goal, as I was creating my schedule for the week I dedicated time to exercising. This meant I was guaranteed to get it done. That’s how effective setting your self goals can be, and this can apply to all aspects of your life.
#3 Figure out When You Can Fit It In
This is always the biggest problem, isn’t it? The curse of being “too busy”. To me, when I know how beneficial exercise is going to be, it’s a no brainer.
But I also completely understand that some people do have unbelievably hectic schedules. My mum is a brilliant example. Or my friend at work who has two small children to care for and a very demanding job. But she still fits a 30 minute workout in.
What I find with people who haven’t really exercised before is that they think they have to start by doing it everyday. It’s actually better if you start off small and work your way up. You could start by picking your least busy day - for me, this would be Sunday. Start off by picking a time and adding a workout into your schedule. Then as you get used to that, you can figure out where else to add one. Write down what you do everyday from start to finish and try to find a gap. The most important thing is to do it at a time that’s best for you and just try it.
#4 Make It Part of Your Routine
The first eight weeks are the hardest - that’s how long it takes for something to become part of your routine. You’ve got eight weeks of pushing and feeling uncomfortable. But then you’ll come out the other side.
If you get into the mindset that you’re going to work out at the same time everyday, then you’ll become used to it. I started the mindset of thinking that I’d workout when I got home from work - that is now a permanent part of my daily routine. And once it becomes a staple in your life, it’ll feel weird when you don’t workout.
You can also add it to your to-do list. I don’t know about you, but I love gradually ticking things off my to-do list! If you do too, then you’ll definitely be more motivated to get that workout done.
#5 Find Someone to Work out with
I usually exercise on my own and I have done for the past two and a bit years. But for a couple of days this week when Tom had a few days off, we exercised together. It was the most fun exercise has ever been! Sure, there were times when I had to pause the TV because I was laughing so much - but it was like we were both even more motivated to get through it because we were doing it together.
If I could do every workout with someone I could. That’s why the FitnessBlender workout videos I follow are so great, because it feels like you’re in the room doing it with them. So if you can find someone to work out with, I’d definitely say go for it.
#6 Join a Class
Everyone prefers different things when it comes to exercising. But booking onto a class is probably the easiest way to add fitness to your life. I go to one through work on a Monday evening and it’s so much fun! Plus, if you go with your friends you can have a laugh, but you’ll also get to meet new people too.
#7 Get a Good Kit
Now exercising is a big part of my life, I want the kit to go with it! Workout clothes are so on trend these days, you can wear them to a coffee shop to meet your friends afterwards. I took a break over Christmas, but when I opened my presents to find new workout gear, I was so pumped to kick start my routine again in the New Year.
I’ve had my eye on some pieces from Dorothy Perkins, Misguided and even Sainsburys - yep, it won’t break the bank either.
#8 Plan Something Good Afterwards
I don’t mean you can eat a big fat chocolate eclair after every workout - but you can plan a reward afterwards. For me, planning a really big, yummy, healthy tea gives me all the motivation I need to complete my workout. For you, it could be sitting down at the end of the day to relax knowing your workout is done. Anything that’ll make you feel good afterwards is what you need.
#9 Do What You Enjoy
It’s no good asking me to ever go for a run, because running doesn't suit my body. When it comes to exercising, you’ve got to do what you enjoy. If you don’t look forward to your workout, then you won’t be anywhere near as motivated to complete it, and you probably won’t put as much effort in either.
I find the key is mixing it up. I always try and do something different. There are so many different resources out there that I hardly ever do the same workout more than twice. Maybe you just prefer walking or swimming - that’s absolutely fine. It’s all about movement, and as long as you’re moving in an intentional way, you’re incorporating fitness into your life.
I love switching up and working on different parts of my body each day. Not only does it give my other muscles time to rest and recover, it also means I’m doing different exercises all the time too.
#10 Stick with It
I said it before and I’ll say it again - it takes eight weeks to make something part of your routine. Eight weeks. Mark the weeks in your calendar if you have to. Giving up is far easier than pushing through the feeling of being uncomfortable. That’s usually just what you need to get that breakthrough and for exercise to become a permanent part of your routine.
I hope this motivates you to start thinking about adding exercise to your life. Remember - you can do it. Working out is all about mind over matter.
I’m ready - are you?
Let's chat in the comments - how do you fit exercise into your life? Do you have any tips of your own for making it easier?