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How to Form a Habit

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


how to form a habit


You’ve probably heard that it takes roughly 21 days to form a habit, but it really differs from person to person. In general, forming a habit will depend on factors such as how complex the activity is, how it fits into your routine, and how often it happens.

You don’t have to count the days and pressure yourself; it’ll just happen, and that’s basically how a habit is formed. Regardless of how long it takes, each one of us has to exert the same efforts to get to the point where a certain action becomes a habit.

How do you form a habit? 

Determine why you need to establish a habit and accept it wholeheartedly. Set a goal that is realistic! Keep in mind that you HAVE to go to the gym and that you HAVE to work out when you get there. Set your intention and tell yourself every day that’s what you’re going to do.

Make it a mindset. For example: I will go to the gym at 7 o'clock in the morning tomorrow and workout for at least 30 minutes. Notice that the intention mentioned above isn’t so ambitious.

Another thing to keep in mind is to start SMALL. You have to consider your willpower at this point and the fact that you’re only getting started so go with something so easy, you can’t say no. If you want to workout for two hours on your first day, best believe you’re going to dread dragging yourself to the gym the next day. Even if you do find the strength to do it, you’ll easily get burned out. Start small!

Just a little tip: While most people prefer working out in the morning, it’s really up to you. You don’t have to go with what everyone else is doing. Choose whatever schedule you think you can stick to. If you’ve got more time and energy in the afternoon or evening, go for it!

When we say to start small, we don’t mean for you to keep it small. To make progress each day, take it up a notch. If you started with 30 minutes, crank it up a bit and go for 40 minutes or even an hour. Do you see where we’re getting here? You advance as each day passes, even if it’s just a tiny "upgrade.”. Baby steps are still steps, and small progress is still progress, so don’t pressure yourself too much.

Once you’ve gotten down actually starting to establish the habit, your next task is to stay focused. Focus on the PROCESS and not the results. You definitely won’t be seeing results until the next few weeks, might as well just focus on keeping yourself on track towards your goal.

Another little tip: It helps to record your activity. Use a small notebook to keep track of your progress. You can write your PRs (personal records) here, duration of workouts, etc. It’s really up to you! Should you decide to write what you weigh, however, don’t stress on getting changes ASAP.

It really comes down to staying on track, as you’re just starting out and establishing your habit. Don’t start doing something without knowing why you’re doing it, because your willpower will come from the goals you want to reach. Not having goals will leave you questioning yourself and whether the energy you’re exerting to form your habit is really worth it.

Here are a few more little tips that might help:

  • Enjoy while you’re exercising. Make a playlist and listen to your music as you move.
  • Prepare your stuff the night before. It’s easier to get up and go out when you see a pair of shoes staring at you.
  • Choose activities that you like. Not into hitting the gym? Stay at home and do some yoga, or simply bike around the neighborhood.
  • Reward yourself every once in a while. You deserve it.
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