By Trevor McDonald
Fitness. It’s everyone’s favorite resolution – and for a good reason. We intend on getting fit and staying there, but it’s too easy to stray. Then when a new year approaches, we have to start fresh with a new plan.
It’s going to work this time…
But is it, really? In reality, the only way any fitness plan will work in the long term is if it becomes a habit. This means that fitness activities are so ingrained in your routine that you don’t give them a second thought.
Here are some tips for making fitness a habit in 2018:
Try a 30-day challenge
30-day challenges are popular because they tend to work. Anyone can do something for 30 days and at the end, it’ll become a habit, right? Well, not necessarily.
You may have heard the old myth about it taking 21 days to form a habit. A 2009 study debunked this common belief and gave us new insight. According to the study, it can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days to form a habit.
The takeaway for your fitness habit is to keep it somewhat simple. The study found that simple tasks became habits faster than more complex habits. Try adding one simple exercise to your routine each day. At the end of 30 days, it’s likely to become a habit.
Announce your goals
Don’t keep your plans a secret. Shout them from the rooftops. Let everyone know that you intend on sticking to your fitness goal. In the early days (when fitness seems more like torture), fear of public failure will keep you going. You don’t want to be the one who suddenly swaps gym selfies for cupcake snaps.
Find something fun
If you want to do something for the rest of your life, find something you like doing. It’s not always easy to find time for fitness, so it helps if it’s something fun. Fun means different things to different people, so choose whatever you think you’ll look forward to doing every day.
Make a major commitment
If you have the means, consider a gym or studio membership that’s just pricey enough to motivate you into action. Writing off a $10 membership is easy. A $100 membership isn’t as easy to waste. You’re more likely to visit the gym a few times each month to get your money’s worth.
With that said, you don’t actually have to spend a dime to make a commitment. You could join a free hiking or biking group that meets regularly. Sign up to help organize group events, and you’ll find it more difficult to back out at the last minute.
Commit to solid sleep
In order to achieve your fitness goals, you need to be well-rested. Choose an early bedtime so you can get up early enough to exercise. Start winding down about an hour before bedtime. This means shutting down that budding technology addiction. The blue light from your smartphone or tablet can mess with your circadian rhythm and keep you awake.
Tell yourself that this is the year you’ll make fitness a habit. And then do it. The only downside is that you’ll need a new resolution for 2019.