Make Exercise a Habit

As life becomes busy, Maintaining Your Fitness Levels is an often difficult task.  With family obligations, long commutes, or irregular hours in the office, you find yourself with limited time to commit to fitness.  You miss your scheduled 6pm workout because you have a review to write, your train is late, or perhaps a last minute meeting or project gets in your way.  With life getting in the way, how do you make exercise a habit?

Review your Schedule

I often look back to my workouts during my college days.  My weekly obligations included 12-15 hours of class, 3 hours of study in the Library, eating, and sleeping.  I'd wrap up a class and have the opportunity to take off for a 4 mile run, then congregate at the Gym and join everyone for the daily workout routine.  With minimal commitments you have plenty of time available in your schedule to make a habit out of working out.  

To make exercise a habit, it's important to sit down and catalog your daily activities and open time windows available for your workout routine.  This is especially true when you notice a change in your traditional routine.

Take a moment to review your routine whenever you  transition to a new job, have a new addition to the family, move to a home that requires a longer commute, or you're assigned to a new project that will require more of your afternoon.  Look at your morning routine to see if you could wake up earlier to workout, or if your new job requires you to be in the office earlier than usual, look at your afternoon to see if you could reschedule your exercise to the afternoon. 

The key is to revisit your schedule whenever you notice a change in your daily routine and find a time window that allows offers you consistancy

Finding a Workout Buddy

Working out with a friend can offer you the motivation required to meet up and make exercise a habit.  Your workout buddy can help push you when you plateau, making your workout more variable.  You can look to them as a form of motivation, or competition, pushing you to change the pace of your exercise.  They can push you to new levels, or challenge you along the way, making the routine more enjoyable.  One of BodyVal's goals is to offer you a platform to find friends with similar fitness goals to challenge and motivate to newer levels of fitness.

Benchmark Your Fitness Levels

Understanding your current level of fitness and using it as a benchmark for improvement is important to motivate you towards achievement.  BodyVal allows you to measure your fitness levels at different stages of your life.  Taking a full fitness test will allow you to understand your fitness level and give you an achievable goal.  Working towards this goal will help you build a habit of exercise and fitness.  

Use a Future Goal as Motivation

Is there a local race you always wanted to try out?  Did you see a swimsuit you wished fit you?  Defining an achievable goal that's 3-6 months into the future offers you motivation to maintain your fitness level and make exercise a habit.  To build a habit, you need to keep at the activity consistently for 3-4 weeks, which is why choosing an event 3-6 months out is beneficial.

I often pre-book a race, or obstacle course event to look forward to test my fitness level.  Look in your local paper, or speak to friends to see if anyone registered for an event that you can use as that goal to work towards.  You could also look for events on sites like Your forward looking goal doesn't have to be a fitness event.  It could even be a dinner, or reunion you hope to surprise your friends with a new look.