How I Formed the Exercise Habit

Seven Rules for My Success

For seven years, I have exercised (on average) three days a week. My routine is a collection of physical therapy excises for my back, yoga, push-ups, sit-ups, and dumbbell weight lifting. It takes about 45 minutes.

Seven basic rules have made this habit possible. As I am nobody special, there is no reason why you cannot do the same with any reasonable exercise plan.

1. Develop the attitude, “I absolutely have to do these exercises”. This is not too hard for me. If I skip my back exercises, I will be in considerable pain. That is very good motivation. But I think that the attitude can be adapted to other situations.

Everyone has reasons why they have to exercise. Perhaps if they think about it and amplify their situation to urgency, they may be able to convince themselves that they have no other option. After all, that is pretty much what I did.

2. All you have to do is one exercise. And when you finish it, start another one. Think about this: you can never do more than one exercise at a time. Concentrate on the one exercise and stay focused. If it helps me, I know it has to help others too.

3. Give yourself permission to quit whenever you feel that you cannot go on. However, not wanting to exercise is not a legitimate excuse. If I only exercised when I felt like it (at 56) you would not be reading this article.

4. Do the ones you hate (the most), first. I am not too fond of push-ups and dumbbell curls. But I am fond of the benefits. I always do these exercises first and the rest is not so bad.

5. Just do it! Don’t give yourself time to think about it or you might just talk yourself out of it.

6. It is alright to not exercise today. Don’t beat yourself up if you skipped your usual routine. Pick it up again tomorrow or as soon as possible. If you dwell too much on your failure, you just may get discouraged enough to give up completely.

7. Pat yourself on the back! It is a major accomplishment to exercise regularly. I think that feeling of accomplishment trumps the feeling I get from the exercise. It is just wonderful!

In summation: Seven basic rules have made it possible for me to stay with my exercise program. There is no reason why you cannot do the same.

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