It’s no secret that staying active is an important part of creating a healthy lifestyle.
We all know we should be doing it, but it’s not always that simple— especially around the holidays, when schedules get jam-packed. But with just a few key strategies, you can find ways to keep up with your daily exercise routine, no matter how hectic life may get.
Why consistency matters
Consistency is an essential component of exercising and achieving your fitness goals. If you only sporadically go to the gym or lift weights, you likely won’t see a lot of progress toward your goals, whatever they may be, and may instead be left with sore, tight muscles. On the other hand, a consistent routine can improve your overall well-being, helping you feel both mentally and physically stronger.
Maintaining a consistent routine often comes down to one thing: eliminating excuses. It’s easy to say that you don’t have the time or that it’s too much work to go to the gym each day, but if you can find the time to scroll on your phone for thirty minutes, watch your favorite show, or play a video game, then you can find the time to work out. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your relaxation time entirely; it simply involves changing your priorities a bit so you can fit in both.
Schedule your workouts
If you want to see better results from your exercise, you’ll need to first develop a routine that works for you. It’s important to remember that what’s best for another person might not be right for you. Some people can wake up with the sun and go on a three-mile run every morning, but if you’re not a morning person, you likely won’t want to start your day even an hour earlier. Instead, you could go to the gym at lunch or opt for a late-afternoon run. Your exercise routine should always fit with both your schedule and your preferences, not someone else’s ideal.
Once you’ve found a routine, make it a regular part of your daily ritual. It may take some time to get used to it—after all, research shows that it takes an average of sixty-six days for a new habit to fully take hold—but if you stick to it, it will soon become just a normal part of your day. One helpful strategy is noting on a calendar the days that you work out and what you did each time. This will allow you to physically see how consistent you have been, or perhaps haven’t been, which can become another motivator in your fitness journey.
However, as the seasons change and your responsibilities shift, you may miss a day or two of your usual routine. And that’s OK. It won’t undo all the progress you’ve made. You just want to be sure to get back into your usual healthy habits once the season calms down.
Create realistic goals and track them
Just like you may make a goal to do the dishes before you go to bed every night or to complete a project proposal before you leave work on Friday, you’ll want to have trackable goals for your fitness journey. For instance, let’s say you have a goal to lose 5 percent body fat by the end of the year. That’s not going to happen after one week of exercising and eating well. Instead, it will take time and dedication on your part, requiring you to make small, continuous steps toward achieving that larger ambition.
Give yourself a short initial goal that you can then increase once you meet it, such as exercising for thirty minutes in the morning and limiting yourself to one sweet treat a day. At the end of the first month, you can assess how you’re feeling physically and mentally and then determine how you want to change your goal or if you want to keep moving forward with what you’ve been doing. When you make achievable goals and consistently meet them, you can feel a sense of accomplishment that can further motivate you to keep up with your exercise regimen even when life gets busy.
Establishing an exercise routine doesn’t have to be a solitary goal. It helps to bring someone into your plans, whether it’s a best friend, spouse, partner, or fellow gym goer. Letting others know what you’re doing can give you a support system that will not only hold you accountable but also encourage you when things get hard. Your friends and loved ones can provide a shoulder to cry on or a pat on the back when you need it the most.
Exercising consistently doesn’t need to be physically and mentally draining. By changing your mindset and adjusting your habits, it can instead become a rewarding part of your everyday routine.