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9 Psychological Tricks to Develop a Fitness Habit

Why are fitness habits so difficult to create? Fitness habits are inherently no more difficult to develop than other habits, but the culture around fitness creates problems. In particular, I had a hard time with "Just Do It".

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The “just do it” or “suck and train” advice is wrong because there are too many open-ended questions for beginners. How should I do this When should I do this Where do I do this? How often should I do this? What is this?”

Without simple answers to these questions, exercise can seem like an uncomfortable and overwhelming task.

Even worse, “just do it” implies that the person has no weaknesses. While exercising is as easy as doing it, the only explanation for not exercising is laziness.

In fact, you are not just lazy. Starting a new habit is difficult and mistakes are common. The psychology of habits has repeatedly shown that willpower is a poor way of maintaining consistency in the long run.

Here are 9 psychological tactics you can use instead.

1. Chaining

Habits are cued by other activities in our lives. We brush our teeth after getting out of bed and we eat because the clock tells us it’s lunchtime.

Connecting exercise to a solid event that you know will happen is a great way to stay consistent. I know that I will leave work at 5 every weekday – instead of going home, I bring my workout clothes with me and go straight the gym.

This chaining is also why it can be hard to work out if there’s no cue. Even though I’ve been working out for years, I still have trouble getting off my butt on the weekends. The weekends have no structure – there are no mandatory activities and no momentum to carry me into a workout.

Without a cue, it’s a lot harder to get moving.

2. Precommitment

I mentioned bringing my workout clothes with me to work – a classic example of precommitment.

Precommitments are actions that get you invested in going to the gym. If you’ve committed to going with a partner, you’re hardly going to leave them hanging.

Similarly, bringing clothes with you to work, packing your gym bag in advance, or laying out your workout clothes before bed for a morning workout are tricks that make it easier to stay consistent.

If I have doubts, I think to myself “well, I’ve already prepared everything to go to the gym, so I might as well follow through.” Read More>>>

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