If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you won’t have to motivate yourself to have it grow. It will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.
– BJ Fogg
If you want to make exercise your daily habit but are struggling, here’s one suggestion that might work for you.
It’s a super easy way to make exercise a habit. It works for me.
Although it would be presumptuous of me to say it would work for you too, I know it’s worthwhile to try at least once and see how it goes.
It’s a well-known fact that replacing an existing habit is far more effective than attempting to get rid of it.
I’ve experienced it myself many times, so I can attest to it.
For a simple thing like drinking more water, which made the most positive impact on my health – more so than exercise -, the new habit stuck because I’ve replaced my coffee intake with warm water.
But drinking coffee itself has also become a trigger for me not only to drink more water but exercise every day.
This is the concept I want to introduce you today.
By the way, this is not for those who want to build a muscle. Or run the Boston Marathon.
My suggestion is for everyday exercise you can do to keep fit without getting stressed about exercise.
If you’re content with a toned body, feeling energetic and healthy, this might be what you’re looking for.
A Super Easy Way to Make Exercise a Habit
A habit trigger is not new to you. You’re already using it in your daily routine.
When you wake up, you go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. You don’t think twice about it. It’s an automatic thing.
Waking up is a habit trigger that signals you to take a specific action.
Now you want to implement the same concept for an exercise habit you want to build and link it to a trigger.
For example, when I boil water – I drink warm water – , I do 25-50 squats while watching water boil (I know – fascinating stuff. ha!).
Boiling water is my trigger for simple and easy exercise.
Since I drink water throughout the day, I get in 100-200 squats a day without a sweat, which is the best kind of exercise for me.
The simple trigger (boiling water) also enables me to drink more water as I drink 1 litre of water for each coffee.
Two birds, one stone!
Trigger and Consistency
For this to work, you need to let go of the preconception that you need to work out HARD to get fit.
This is just not true.
Firas Zahabi, a Canadian mixed martial artist, talks about working out smarter with consistency over intensity.
From my positive experience on consistent exercise, I couldn’t agree more.
I have many triggers that spur me to take very specific exercise routines.
None of them is vigorous.
Yet, I have more energy than before. I don’t get tired any more.
Most importantly, I don’t get stressed about exercise.
Triggers make exercise habits stick so effortlessly that exercise has become a joyful experience, not some obligation I force myself to do (as I used to).
Examples of Potential Triggers
Here are a few examples I’ve done before or still do.
When you brush your teeth (trigger), do 25-50 squats. There, you already have 50-100 squats a day, brushing teeth twice a day.
Or when you use a mouthwash.
You’re supposed to swish it for 30 seconds. Guess how many squats you can do in 30 seconds!
Taking a break from work while listening to your favourite TED talks?
Do 20 laps of 5 different exercise routines while listening to it.
Every time you have a bathroom break, before sitting back down, jump on your mini-trampoline and do 50 jumping jacks.
On your way to grocery shopping? Take your skipping rope and do 500 jumps before shopping.
Make Each Trigger Exercise Your 30 Day Challenge
As you can see, each exercise routine has a trigger attached to it.
That’s the key.
Observe your daily routines and incorporate them into your triggers.
Link each trigger to a very specific exercise routine, e.g. types of exercise and a number of laps.
Not too vigorous, but enough to make you feel you’ve done enough.
Make them your 30 Day Challenge.
Yoga Tree Pose was one of my 30 Day Challenges.
I don’t like Yoga (yet) so I thought I’d try tree pose for 30 days.
I took 3 days to stand still (ha!). It hasn’t won me, but I gave it a go for 30 days.
30 Day Challenge is a good way to find out what works and what doesn’t for you.
I thought I had to work out hard before.
So exercise became work, not something I enjoyed doing.
When I built my exercise routines around the triggers, the whole thing has become effortless and enjoyable.
I’ve grown to love exercise this way, and now I can incorporate some more vigorous exercises like Tae Bo or Zumba dancing.
Give it a go and let me know how you feel.
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