Updated: Feb 23
How can we create habits that help us to stay consistent in doing the things we want to do in a way that feels effortless? When it comes to exercise, there's a whole host of reasons why we are motivated (or not) to workout but it's not easy to stay consistent with it, especially if you're just starting out! This piece is going to give you a few practical tips that you can apply to everyday life to help you stay focused and consistent with fitness.
First things first, you’ve got to find something you actually enjoy! All too often we force ourselves to exercise because we feel like we should and we sit under a big cloud of guilt when we don’t. Instead, you need to find a form of exercise and movement that excites you! It makes you feel happy and you look forward to it rather than trying to find all sorts of excuses to avoid it. There are so many different types of exercise and workouts so it is well worth experimenting with lots of different things until you find one that works for you. Life is hectic and your time is precious, if you can carve out even just 20 minutes of time to exercise then you’re already a winner in my eyes. Just make sure you spend that time (however long it is) doing something you actually enjoy!
Find a form of exercise that makes you feel this happy!
Some practical tips to help you form positive habits
Setting yourself up for the week;
Take 5 minutes on a Sunday evening to plan your workouts or book in for your classes for the week. If you know you won't be motivated to workout in the evenings then plan for morning sessions instead. Share your schedule with your friends and see if they can do some of the same slots - makes it more fun and you're more accountable to (virtually!) show up.
Make it so easy that you can’t not do it;
With no commute needed, you can roll out of bed and get your exercise done in your PJs which is perfect! Alternatively if putting on your favourite pair of leggings is going to give you the extra motivation you need, then leave them out the night before, ready to hop straight into in the morning! While you're at it, you could also set up your workout space, meaning you've got the maximum amount of snoozing time in the morning!
So, now we’ve created our positive habits, how do we try and stay consistent with them? All sorts of different things that we do which we enjoy result in a hormone and neurotransmitter called dopamine being released in the brain. Dopamine plays a role in pleasure, motivation and learning so your brain is naturally rewarded and encourages continued action when it is released.
What does this mean for our fitness goals? Well, naturally when we work out, endorphins are released and they help us to feel positive which is great! It takes time and consistency for our bodies to become naturally stimulated by exercise in a way that produces dopamine, but we can help to kick-start the reward process! Research has shown that consuming a small amount of chocolate post-workout releases similar neurotransmitters to those that will eventually be released by the workout itself. Finding a motivating reward after a workout will help your brain to encourage you to continue the action - this could be as simple as a piece of chocolate, a cup of tea or a nice hot bath!
Exercise from a place of self-love rather than a feeling of guilt!
Make your daily goals so small that you can't fail - this is a step-by-step and not a leap-by-leap process! Your goals should be progressive - if you’re brand new to exercise, start off with one workout a week and gradually build up from there. If you’re working out 4 times a week but not staying consistent from week to week then set yourself monthly goals. If you miss a day, don't be hard on yourself, support and encourage yourself not to miss a second one.
Keep checking in with how you're doing - if something isn't working for you, look at ways you can change up your routine so you can find a new way that does work for you. If you're still looking for that workout that fills you with joy instead of dread then I'd love you to join one of our Barre classes...it could be just what you're looking for - I know it was for me!