Getting Yourself to Work Out
We’ve all been there. It’s New Year’s Day, or one of those big birthdays, or maybe a beach vacation is around the corner. This time is the time. You’ve got some hardcore gym motivation, and this time you’re going to keep it up. One week in? You’re pretty pleased with your newfound commitment. But somewhere along the way you start the hitting snooze, joining your co-workers at happy hour, or spending some extra time with your family after work.
Your family’s probably happy to have more of you around… but, ahem, there’s more of you around. What happened to all that motivation and those good intentions to get in shape? We’ve got the answer, but it’s going to require a little nerding out: The secret to forming good habits (and staying motivated!) is all about process-focused goals versus outcome-based goals.
Habit formation is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s backed by neuroscience and how our brains actually work.
The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), 2012 states decades of psychological research consistently show that mere repetition of a simple action in a consistent context leads, through associative learning, to the action being activated upon subsequent exposure to those contextual cues (that is, habitually).
Here are a few tricks to get your brain — and body — in the habit of exercising.
Attach your new habit to an old one
Here are a few examples. Since you’re already waking up every morning (thank goodness), lay out your clothes next to your bed the night before so you can immediately put them on and head out. Or, say you’re not a morning person. Since you already leave work every evening (thank goodness), bring your workout clothes so you can change in the bathroom the minute you finish packing up to leave for the day. Either way, you’re forming a small habit that will prepare you to exercise.
Then going to the gym isn’t about being motivated. It’s more about completing the ritual that you’ve set yourself up for.
Make a SMALL commitment to fitness at first. We all fail when we think too big when it comes to working out.
Think about your schedule, realistically, and commit to exercising maybe just one time per week at first. As soon as that feels doable, add another day. And so on until you reach your desired amount of days per week for exercise. Keep in mind it can take up to 60 days to form a new habit, so be patient with yourself. All that gym motivation you have when you first start is precious, so don’t use it all up right away.
Make fitness enjoyable
Another key to turning exercise into a habit is to choose a fitness activity you truly enjoy. People rarely stay motivated about an exercise program if they dread the workout they’re about to do. Whatever you enjoy, find a way to get a mix of both cardio and strength training workouts in each week. (Check out these CDC Guidelines for a good baseline.)
We’ve also got a secret weapon for you
Though gym signups skyrocket every January, most people find it’s not their thing for one reason or another. That’s why we built Gixo, our fitness app that offers over 140 live classes per week. No matter your schedule or fitness level, you can find a class that’s right for you (and make it part of your routine). Plus, our live coaches hold you accountable, offer feedback, and and we even send you reminders to help you stick to your routine. Our classes range from walking or running to strength and everything in between.
Yep, we’re all about helping you work your way to healthy. Our coaches will do their best to keep you motivated and make Gixo a healthy habit that fits into your life (even if the gym doesn’t).