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Adding exercise to your daily routine is a common resolution that entrepreneurs quickly make and give up months after they start. Exercise improves mental health, increases productivity, and has countless physical benefits, but it’s hard to form a new habit. Many business owners don’t stick to their new workout plan as soon as life gets “busy.”
The hardest part of regular exercise is forming that lasting habit. Once you establish a habit, exercise will become second nature or even something you look forward to every day. Here are some tips to help you create an exercise routine that you can take with you beyond the early stages.
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Choose activities you enjoy
The key to creating a lasting fitness routine is to make exercise fun. Focus on what makes you feel good so you can come back day after day. Experiment with different classes, sports, and activities until you find something that brings lasting pleasure to your life.
Try a spinning class that feels like a night out at the club, or go for a strength-training program like CrossFit to build muscle and feel strong in your day-to-day life. If these options aren’t for you, outdoor activities like skiing or roller-skating might be the most enjoyable way to exercise.
Finding a workout buddy will help keep you accountable and make your workout more fun by providing a dose of social interaction. Or you can join a club sports team to build community while staying fit and having fun.
Whatever you decide, take the time to find a physical activity that gives you joy and distracts you from work. Always take a moment to reflect on the benefits you experience after moving your body.
Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Fitness and Cancel the Pandemic Pounds
Set reasonable expectations
As with any new habit, it’s always a good idea to start small. Start with manageable and achievable tasks. The boost of resolution you get when you start your new exercise habit may fade over time, so don’t count on it to fuel your resolution beyond the first two weeks.
A little exercise is always better than no exercise, so keep that in mind on days when you feel like giving up. Maybe a short walk is enough for that day. At least you got out and got some fresh air and movement.
While it’s important to stick to a workout plan, don’t beat yourself up if you get off track for a day or two. Consistency is key, so as long as you return to the gym after a busy (or lazy) week, you have nothing to lose sleep over. By setting manageable expectations and being forgiving when you fail, you’ll increase the likelihood that your fitness routine will last for the long haul.
turn it on
Doing the same exercises over and over will get boring after a while. One of the common reasons entrepreneurs give up on any sustained fitness effort is that they start to feel stagnant in the rut of it all. Many entrepreneurs seek excitement and originality. Sometimes repetitive exercise is not enough.
If your fitness routine consists primarily of lifting weights in the gym, try incorporating cardio. Experiment with more adventurous activities like rock climbing, hiking, or dancing, and see what types of activities are the most fun for you. You get the most health benefits from combining cardio and strength training, so change up your routine and don’t be afraid to take a day off.
Related: Why entrepreneurs should make fitness a priority
Take a moment before or after exercise (or both) to practice gratitude for what your body can do. Movement is a blessing, and taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to thank your body for what it has done and reflect on what you are capable of is essential. This step is an often overlooked part of exercise that will pay dividends if you take the time to cultivate gratitude for your physical abilities.
Remembering gratitude will increase the chances that you will feel good after your workout, which, in turn, will increase the chances that you will come back the next day to exercise again. Take a few moments of mindfulness to thank your body for what it has done and to soak up the benefits of your physical practice.
Related: 5 Ways Fitness Apps Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Hire a personal trainer or purchase a month’s course to commit to your exercise program. Actions speak louder than words, so put your money where your mouth is and commit to building exercises into your routine.
Creating a training schedule will force you to schedule specific training time into your work calendar and encourage you to show up on days when training is the last thing you want to do. A personal trainer can also help you identify your fitness goals and understand areas of weakness that may need attention.
Team sports are another great way to find community and help you stay accountable to your fitness goals. You’ll be more likely to show up if other people are relying on you, so finding a community will help you stick to your fitness commitment.
Related: How technology is disrupting the fitness industry
Harnessing technology helps you stay on top of your fitness goals. Apps can help you track your progress and set goals for the future. Some people are driven to beat their personal best, so keeping track of your metrics will help you do better next time.
You can also use one of the many fitness apps available to see what your friends are doing and stay connected. If you like a bit of friendly competition, you can use one of the apps to compete with your friends.
Using a fitness app not only helps you track your digital improvement (how fast you can run a mile, for example), it also helps you recognize how much physical progress you’ve made or how you actually feel stronger. Recognizing that hard work will help you turn exercise into an unbreakable habit for years and years to come.