Want to exercise regularly? DON’T set a goal
Set a goal to lose 10lb’s, fit into that dress, get ready for summer or run a 1/2 marathon and you will be exercising regularly right? …
But what happens after your goal is reached?
Often we stop exercising.
If you were to ask a regular exerciser what motivates them long term, you may get a surprising answer. It’s NOT that big event, dress size or a 6-pack … they’ll tell you that they experience a sense of accomplishment, boost of confidence or increased energy after a good workout. Some experience a closer family bond, improved relationships and even a higher libido.
The key to a life long habit of exercise is to cultivate an internal drive so strong that you become not someone that exercises, but someone that LOVES exercising.
And no amount of ‘run that marathon’ or ‘get ready for summer’ will make you that because an internal drive is infinite.
The good news is that you CAN become someone that LOVES exercise.
1. Create a very small habit to start.
James Clear, an expert on habit formation recommends that when forming a new habit, you start off with a simple habit that is so easy you cannot fail on and build on it. For example. To get into the habit of running you could:
Set a goal to run for 5 minutes, at 5pm, 3 days a week.
You can turn up for the exercise session, do 5 minutes and then leave. It is still a success.
By making the habit so small you cannot fail, you have successfully solved 1/2 the equation of exercise: showing up.
But what happens then? For so many of us after the goal is met the habit stops. This is where internal motivation comes in to play.
2. Cultivate your internal drive to exercise
How does exercise make you feel? Record it down and remind yourself the INTERNAL benefits you feel from exercise. Here is a few to get you started:
Exercise Makes me feel:
Every day, set aside a minute or two to reflect on these benefits and eventually you will discover out your most popular internal drive. You may be surprised as to what types of benefits motivate you. This list can also be used an a reminder at times of great need as to why you exercise.
E.g sometimes when I want to skip that workout, I remind myself why I exercise. For me, exercise provides an immense sense of achievement, higher productivity and stress relief.
3. Become a coach and change your identity
What’s the fastest way to learn anything? Teach it.
This will rapidly change your association towards exercise and you will also learn ALOT.
By motivating others to exercise, you are that person that loves to exercise. Step into their shoes and stay there. As the saying goes — fake it, until you make it.
It’s easy to become a coach. You can start by encouraging a friend to go with you on your 5 minute exercise habit. You could also talk about exercise in a positive sense. Discuss strategies, results and techniques. Discuss why you exercise with a friend and find out why they exercise too.
The end result: A shift in your identity
So that is how YOU too can love exercise. By changing your routine, beliefs and interaction will others will rapidly change your attitude towards exercise.
Will you start today? Go ahead now and create a recurring Calendar event when you are going to exercise and make it 5 minutes in length.