I love exercising. I love breaking a sweat, moving my body, and being outside. But, if you met me a couple years ago, you might not believe it–not because I was particularly overweight or sedentary, but because I didn’t exercise regularly. I thought of myself as an active person, but I didn’t exercise, even weekly. Six months ago, my friend and I started running together and being accountable to each other to do it. Some days have been hard to get out of the house, but together, we’ve run pretty consistently three times a week for the past six months!
I’ve wondered lately, what was different about this exercise goal than all of the others I’ve made in the past five or six years. It may be that my expectations were more realistic (we just run for health, not distance) but more than anything, I think it all comes down to habits. Because I have been running with my friend at about the same time, I plan on it and I don’t think about it much anymore. Now that I’ve formed the habit, running is easy, but establishing habits is hard! Here are some ideas to help you to establish the habits you want a little easier.
- Do it with a friend. It’s so much easier to establish a habit when you are doing it with someone else. Find someone who can make a commitment with you and encourage you in your goals.
- Set an alarm on your phone. Setting an alarm is the best way for me to combat simply forgetting to do something. After a little while, you may not even need the reminder anymore.
- Make it routine. It’s always easier to do something if it’s part of your daily routine. How is your habit going to fit in with what you do everyday? Maybe you read scriptures while you eat breakfast or pray after you brush your teeth.
- Sticker chart! Maybe it sounds silly, but maybe it will work for you! Do at least 21 days (how long it takes to form a habit) and it wouldn’t hurt to reward yourself at the end. Ice cream, anyone?
And if you need some ideas of habits to work on, here are some personal progress value experiences that can give you some ideas:
What habits do you want to form? Do you have any good tips for establishing habits?