How to make exercise a daily habit without any effort at all!

Have you tried every possible way to incorporate exercise into your routine, but nothing ever sticks? This is an important article that could make a world of difference for you. 

James Clear’s best seller “Atomic Habits” is flying off bookshelves worldwide at the moment. I’m going to show you how to take the key principles from this book and apply them to exercise and physical activity in your daily life.

Without these “Atomic Habit” strategies, exercise will continue to be something that floats in and out of your routine, not allowing you to reap the benefits it possesses and causing more stress and worry than it’s worth. 

We know that exercise is vital to our wellbeing, and without it we are putting ourselves at risk of a huge range of health issues down the line. 

However, by implementing this approach, you can expect to positively change your views and beliefs around exercise, turning it from something that was a big effort and a chore, into something that is EASY. 

You will start to notice the changes in your body too, those flights of steps don’t get you out of breath as they used to, you can keep up with the younger members of your family and your mental health benefits too!

I strongly believe that ANYONE can use these simple strategies to their own benefit. You might already be fit and healthy and looking for something extra, or you could be starting from square one, either way, this WILL WORK for you! 

Have you made it this far? Well done, we’re about to really get to the good part now...

Using the first three of James’ “Four Laws of Behaviour Change”, here are 3 practical examples to build better exercise habits in your life:

The First Law - Make It Obvious

The First Law takes advantage of a strategy called “Habit Stacking” - where you attach a new habit to a habit that you already have in your life. 

Let’s use an injury rehab example here, you have hurt your shoulder in the garden and your Physio has recommended that you perform push-ups on your kitchen bench to regain strength.

Using this strategy, you identify that each morning you get up and switch the kettle on for your morning coffee. You then realise that you can habit stack your exercise onto this and while the kettle boils, you complete your push-ups. 

After a little while it becomes second nature to start your exercises as soon as you switch the kettle on. 

The Second Law - Make It Attractive

The Second Law integrates a strategy where you pair a habit you NEED with a habit you WANT. 

So, let’s imagine your GP has recommended you increase your physical activity levels. You therefore feel that a new habit you NEED is to get out for a short daily walk. 

Currently, each day you drive down to your local deli and buy the newspaper, realising that this has become a habit to obtain something you WANT. 

Using this strategy you could drive only halfway down to the deli, walk the remaining distance (habit you NEED), and enjoy reading the daily news on the other side (habit you WANT). 

The Third Law - Make It Easy

The Third Law incorporates the “2 minute rule”. This can be used in any situation where your goal habit seems to be too much of an effort right now. 

Let’s say in this example your goal is to run 5km without stopping, but at the moment you struggle to get to the end of the street.

When your long term goal seems too out of reach, it is recommended that you break it down into something that you can start doing for 2 minutes. 

In the example above, this would be breaking down your 5km running goal into a 2 minute jog. The idea behind the 2 minute rule is not that you are getting any particular physical benefit from 2 minutes of jogging, but instead you are “mastering the art of showing up”. 

Once you master the habit of “showing up” (getting dressed for exercise, lacing up your runners and hitting the footpath) and make this a ritual, the next steps (increasing your running distance) become far easier. 

I hope you find these strategies helpful and can start to increase the amount of daily physical activity you are doing. If you need a bit more assistance incorporating exercise habits into your day, or would like to know what exercises to attach to these habits, give our friendly admin team a call today on 8682 6665 and book an appointment with our Exercise Physiologists. 

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