Making Movement Stick

I have a natural affinity to moving my body everyday. I love the release of endorphins, I love to be outside, and I love to feel strong. I have been an athlete since about 6 years old when I started playing soccer. So it is generally not a challenge for me to motivate to exercise regularly. I try to move at least 30 minutes a day.

However, I know it can be hard for many people to find the time and the motivation to exercise. I don’t want to belabor the excuses here, you all probably know some of them. What I want to talk about are potential solutions. How can you make daily movement a HABIT? Here are some ideas that I recently snagged off the NPR Podcast Life Kit, plus some ideas of my own.

  • Reward yourself for exercising. Put $1 into a glass jar for every hour you workout or every mile you walk or run. Give yourself a timeline and deadline to try this. At the end, empty out the contents, count it up, and reward yourself with a new outfit, date night, or mini-vacation. I did this last summer and earned enough to buy myself a couple awesome fall outfits.
  • Punish yourself for NOT exercising. Here is an ingenious way how. Each time you skip out on a workout that you planned or scheduled, put money in a jar or savings account. Decide at the beginning what charity or political candidate you don’t like that will receive all the proceeds. If you keep skipping your workout, next thing you know you will be writing a fat check to a person or organization you don’t admire.
  • Find a buddy to workout with. Adding external accountability helps. You don’t want to disappoint a friend that you signed up for a class with or are scheduled to go on a bike ride with, do you?
  • Set yourself up for success. Put your workout clothes on first thing in the morning. For those that work out of the home, this may be a little awkward sporting a leotard and bike shorts at the office, but what the heck. Everyone is going business casual these days anyways. Or just wear it underneath. You are more likely to workout if you are actually wearing the right outfit. And for those who don’t work or work from home, this will definitely help get you out the door or moving in your house.
  • When all else fails, dance party. Seriously. There are some days, especially shorter winter days, where I fail to get to the gym or outside for a run/bike/hike. So I turn on some hot salsa dance beat tunes and have a dance party with my two kids. We have such a great time and end up laughing our heads off. Great way to work out any stress lingering at the end of the day as well.