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Exercise makes us feel better, improves quality of life and benefits physical and mental health. Unfortunately, get...
Exercise makes us feel better, improves quality of life and benefits physical and mental health. Unfortunately, getting motivated to work out is often a major stumbling block when trying to begin an effective exercise regimen. Luckily, human beings are creatures of habit, so once we start a routine, things tend to get easier—even to the point where it becomes an inconvenience not to exercise.
According to research by health psychologist Phillippa Lally, habits usually form at 66 days, though it can take as little as 18 or as long as 254. The best way to form an effective habit for exercise is to first find something you’re interested in and will enjoy: for example, your favourite sport or something you can do in an enjoyable environment.
Social psychologist Henk Aarts argues that situational features help to create and activate habits, meaning a set of circumstances, including location, time and other cues, can trigger habits unconsciously. To create situations that prompt automatic habitual behaviour, always perform your exercise in similar circumstances. For example, if you like to run or cycle, consistently do it before you eat lunch. In time you will hanker after this pattern and it will become a habit.
Set small, achievable goals: Start with an easy objective, then build up your confidence and progress in stages towards your ultimate goal
Join a group: The support of others can provide additional motivation and enjoyment
Keep a positive attitude: Set aside doubts, guilt or embarrassment, which can sap your energy and lead you to stagnation
Make a long-term commitment: The longer you keep at it, the greater the reward
Be patient and don’t give up!