Regular physical activity and proper nutrition are an essential component of long-term health. For some, however, it can be difficult to make the necessary changes to adopt exercise as part of their lifestyle. It is only when exercise becomes a habit that you will experience lasting and long-term results from your efforts. Here are six ideas to make exercise a habit in your life. 1. Treat yourself. Give yourself a (non-edible) small reward after reaching a fitness goal. Rewarding yourself activates the pleasure centers in your brain, which establishes a positive outlook toward exercise. 2. Schedule your workouts. If you plan time for exercise regularly in your schedule, it is more likely to become a habit. If someone tries to make demands for your time, say “Sorry, I already have plans.” 3. Set a learning goal. Learning goals focus on the process or steps required to achieve an outcome (e.g. learning to use a kettlebell). Studies have shown that achieving a learning goal releases dopamine. If your brain associates exercise with pleasure, you will be more inclined to do it. 4. Change your mindset. Focus on viewing exercise as a means for improving your health and enhancing your quality of life (not to achieve a certain physical image). This goal may be motivation enough to include exercise as part of your routine. 5. Develop a journaling practice. Use a journal to track your progress and record how you feel after you exercise. Writing down the positive aspects of each exercise session could help shift your mindset so that you focus on the process being a positive one. 6. Find a workout buddy. Taking the steps to initiate behavior change by yourself can be tough, so having a friend along with you for the journey could help make the process a little easier.
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