How to Really Commit to a Fitness Resolution and Start Exercising
Did you know that making a commitment to exercise is the #2 most popular new year’s resolution in the United States in 2019? Many people use the coming of a new year to kick off a new habit, but you don’t need to wait for January 1st to start exercising; the reasons for beginning a fitness habit are numerous enough that it’s worth starting any time.
Saying you’re going to start a fitness resolution and actually committing to regular exercise are two different things. In this article, we discuss ways to commit to a regular and sustainable workout routine, and how you can use a trip to a fitness resort to kick start your fitness habit.
Why Is It So Hard to Form Good Habits?
Humans are creatures of habit. We get in routines that it’s hard to break from, whether that’s adding a good habit or subtracting a bad one.
If you’re looking to add the gym, running, or home exercise to your routine, that will take time out of your day that was previously filled with something else. You only have 24 hours in a day, so what will you be giving up? You will have to trade couch time for treadmill time, or trade the extra half hour of sleep in the morning for a trip to the gym.
According to sociologist Christine Whelan, “One great secret to succeeding at change is to be aware of what isn’t going to happen once you start going to the gym.” Make a plan, and think about the additions and subtractions to overcome one of the biggest hurdle to starting a habit.
Health Benefits of Exercise
Everyone knows the general idea that “exercise is good for you”, but what are the specific benefits to physical fitness? Exercise isn’t just a means of physical fitness— it’s also one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Here are five well-known (and some lesser-known) benefits of regular exercise.
- Lose Weight – All weight loss (and weight gain) comes down to two factors: calorie input (food and diet) and calorie output (movement and exercise). Increasing the output side of that equation to lose weight can benefit from certain exercises more than others, such as cardio workouts that increase the heart rate.
- Build Muscle – Some exercises are not designed for weight loss, but rather focus on building muscle. Strength training, such as lifting weights, can be beneficial for people of all shapes and sizes to get stronger and improve overall health.
- Combat Disease – Numerous studies have proven the positive health effects of exercise in helping to prevent heart disease. The heart is a muscle too, and helping to build that muscle through aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. In addition, exercise also helps lower the risk or reduce the symptoms of diabetes, asthma, back pain, arthritis, dementia, and some types of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Improve your Well-Being – There is a strong positive correlation between regular exercise and a more positive mood. As working out becomes more of a habit, it will give you more energy, help you sleep better, and improve your general well-being. Some studies have even shown that this effect can go so far as to help treat depression.
- Meet New People – One of the lesser known benefits of exercise is the social aspect! Going to the gym, taking Zumba classes, or even just running outside puts you in contact with other like-minded health-focused people. Starting a habit is easier if you have others to help support you, so seek out these connections to help commit to this new lifestyle.
Source: Mayo Clinic
How to Start Exercising as a Habit
For the best chance to gain these multiple health benefits, it’s important that working out becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. Here’s how to start the exercise habit.
Find a Reason to Exercise
One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is to “begin with the end in mind.” To have the best chance at success with your habit, find your reason for exercising, and keep it in-mind throughout the entire process. You can even pick from one of the reasons above! Find your “end goal”, think about it, say it aloud, write it down—do whatever you need to do to keep your ultimate motivation as a part of your process.
Set and Keep a Regular Schedule
A habit without some level of regularity isn’t really a habit. Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “I’ll just go to the gym whenever,” or, “I’ll start running when I’m less busy.” To actually make a habit, set a schedule and stick to it.
Find regular times during each week, and even the same set of hours. If you put these times into a consistent schedule, you’re much more likely to stick to the commitment.
Set Realistic Goalposts
As a counterpoint to the previous tip, make sure your goals are realistic. Don’t go from zero workouts a week to seven; start small, like maybe one trip to the gym per week on Saturday mornings, or fifteen minutes of jogging after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you set realistic goals, you can celebrate the small victories and stay motivated. Once you can successfully achieve the limited, realistic goals, you can start to slowly increase your levels. After a few weeks of two workouts per week, try three. If you can commit to three for multiple months, maybe try four, and so on.
Find Friends to Exercise With
As mentioned above, exercise can be a very social experience. If you have friends who enjoy working out, team up and go to the gym together, or even just take walks together on a regular basis.
If you don’t have those people in your life yet, you can find people at the gym who may share similar goals. Many cities even have running groups that you can join without any financial commitment to a gym.
By joining with other like-minded friends, you can help keep each other accountable to each meet your exercise goals.
Find Ways to Make Exercise Fun
Not every type of exercise is going to appeal to everyone. Your best chance to make working out a regular part of your life is by making it enjoyable. So what do you enjoy?
Some people like running outside, and it’s easy to try (provided that you live in the right climate). If running isn’t your thing, how about lifting? Other people prefer yoga, dance classes like Zumba, or sports activities like basketball, tennis, or even pickleball.
Try lots of different types of exercise to see what motivates you to keep going.
One reason why it’s hard to form good habits is because we’re oftentimes too committed to bad ones. You’ll need to focus and give up distractions in order to successfully commit to your new habit.
If you’re in need of a “hard reset” to truly break away from all distractions to start your exercise habit, you may benefit from a trip to a fitness resort.
Kick-Start Your Exercise Habit with a Fitness Resort
For some people, the best way to start the habit of working out is by “jump starting your system” at a fitness resort. A fitness resort helps you truly eliminate all distractions, and focus exclusively on your health.
Fitness resorts typically cost more than a typical vacation, because most of the time, they are all-inclusive with meals included as part of the package. This aspect of the programs help ensure that your calorie intake isn’t sabotaging your calorie output of exercise.
Some weight-loss focused fitness resorts offer intense workouts or hikes of multiple hours per day, giving guests a full immersion into the exercise lifestyle. If that sounds too intense to kick-start your habit, health resorts are focused on lower-impact wellness activities such as walking or yoga, which may be a better fit for some people.
If you’re looking to put your mind fully into wellness mode, you may wish to travel to a resort in a different part of the country. There are dozens of options all around the United States, so research our list of fitness and health resorts that fit both your geography preferences and your exercise intensity goals.