7 Tips to Create Fitness Habits That Actually Stick

Linda Rider

It’s easy to get hyped about ambitious fitness plans, only to have them fall by the wayside a few weeks in. Don’t give up on these goals just yet, however.

Learning how to create fitness habits that actually work with your daily life is a skill, and you can master it with the right resources and support. In no time, these fitness activities will become a regular part of your routine.

1. Choose Activities You Actually Enjoy

Roller skates close up

Because there are so many options when it comes to fitness, don’t force yourself through activities that feel like a dreaded chore. Although most sports or workouts include their own challenges, it’s important to find one that’s enjoyable (at least most of the time).

To find a physical activity you enjoy, keep an open mind and try out anything that seems fun. Maybe a swimming class will make every workout feel like a mini-vacation, or a local basketball league will reignite your love for the sport.

YouTube workouts are another excellent way to try out new activities from the comfort of your home. For instance, a selection of dance workout videos will get your heart rate up while spirited instructors lead the moves. There’s also a huge selection of apps designed to make workout routines stick with extensive workout plans and other engaging features.

2. Think Outside the Box (or the Gym)

friends enjoying boxing

There isn’t a single correct way to work out, so experiment to find the best way to bring more movement into your day. For someone with a packed schedule, some at-home exercise apps may work better. They also offer the chance to try activities like kickboxing or barre classes.

If large gyms aren’t your thing, then look for smaller classes on the ClassPass app. There might be a dance studio, spin class, or other space nearby offering cool fitness options.

Download: ClassPass for iOS | Android (Subscription required, free trial available)

3. Schedule It

eyeglasses on white calendar showing month of january

Creating a set exercise schedule and making it a routine can help you work out more regularly. There are many ways to start blending exercise into your existing schedule.

One of the easier ways is to pick a weekly class you enjoy and commit to attending as often as possible. These can be in-person or online classes for any activity at all. In fact, there are many excellent apps for live and on-demand fitness classes, covering everything from yoga and weightlifting to Pilates and barre. The class time is already set, so all you have to do is show up or tune in to the streaming class.

Alternately, use a calendar app for time management and block off sections for workouts each week. A lot of people have success with early-morning workouts, but any time that suits your schedule is fine, too.

Lastly, try to keep a workout streak going and complete the scheduled exercise sessions regularly. Exercise apps like JEFIT can monitor workout streaks for an added motivation boost. Building on existing momentum makes sticking with future exercises a bit easier.

4. Get Social

outdoor group workouts

It’s harder to flake on that morning run or weightlifting session when a buddy is waiting on you. Enlist the help of friends and family to meet those exercise goals whenever possible. Most activities are inherently more enjoyable when there’s a conversation going on, anyway.

There’s also a great selection of social workout apps to make exercising a team effort. Round up your office mates for a step-counting challenge, or join a group chat for daily workouts. Whatever route you choose, bringing some friends into the fold makes exercising feel much more doable.

5. Inspire a Little Competition

fist bump at the gym

Sometimes the pressure of an upcoming race day or other competition can help motivate you through those days when you don’t feel like doing anything. Because those off days are inevitable, it’s handy to have some other reason to get moving.

To sign up for a road race, browse sites like RunSignup or Active to find a 5K or another event nearby. Virtual races, meanwhile, can take place anywhere. Check out Virtual Run Events to find a race that suits your goal, whether that’s one mile or a whole marathon.

For another approach, try out one-on-one competitive sports like tennis or boxing. Many cities have dedicated clubs for specific sports, and it’s an enjoyable and challenging way to master new skills. Plus, you might make some friends as well.

6. Get a Coach or Accountability Partner

fitness coach training a client

Hiring an online personal trainer is an excellent way to make fitness goals more of a priority. A trainer is also skilled at helping you overcome the common barriers to working out, both mental and physical.

In addition, getting a virtual accountability partner to stay on top of those fitness goals is another excellent option. For instance, an app like Supporti pairs you with another user for daily support toward whatever you plan to accomplish.

Lastly, ask a trusted friend or family member to check in and encourage your progress. Sometimes a quick text is all the motivation you need to get that workout in.

7. Celebrate Accomplishments Often

Did you meet this week’s workout goals? Then, it’s time for a reward. Savor a fancy coffee, play your favorite games, or enjoy any other treat. These mini celebrations can make all the hard work worthwhile, so set up some rewards you’ll really appreciate along the way.

You can make this part of the cue-routine-reward system for habit formation, which uses positive reinforcement to make creating new routines a little more pleasant. Not only is it an effective way to make new habits stick, but it also injects a little more positivity into your routine overall.

Meet Your Workout Goals Effortlessly

If you want to make fitness goals that stick for good, you should use the many available resources to turn those aspirations into reality.

Plenty of websites, apps, and YouTube videos can help make workout plans stick for the long haul. So, choose any methods of support that work for your situation and achieve those fitness goals at last.

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