How to Make Exercise a Habit

No matter how much you try to make it fun, and no matter what the experts tell you about how great you will feel, when you first start regular aerobic exercise, you will probably dislike it. Developing this healthy living habit takes time and effort. In the beginning it will be difficult, and time may move much more slowly than you’d like. You must force yourself to stick to your routine during this stage. A common pitfall is to forgo exercise on days when you feel tired and lethargic because you think you do not have enough energy for it. A secret, known to those who have become habitual exercisers, is that effort creates energy. Do not wait for energy to come when you are tired; create it by expending effort. You can easily prove to yourself that this principle works. Just try it.

The inner voice that says you don’t have time for exercise is lying. You can make time for it once you realize its priority in an overall program of preventive health maintenance and healthy living. In fact, regular exercise, by giving you more energy and a greater sense of well-being, will help you work more efficiently, so that you use your time better and have more to spare. I promise you that eventually you will move beyond the initial stage into a different relationship with aerobic activity. It will make you feel good both physically and mentally, at first after you finish exercising and later while you are doing it as well. Days without exercise will not feel quite right or complete. Then you will know that your good habit has begun to take solid form, and the chance of your abandoning the program will be much diminished.

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