When it comes to fitness, we’re usually very willing to achieve a summer body or even six-pack abs. Unfortunately, our willpower often betrays us and we fall into the temptation of sleeping for an extra hour instead of hitting the gym. We are also quick to abandon our exercise plans when faced with slight obstacles.
But those that achieve their fitness goals have one thing in common. They usually have strong self-discipline or iron-clad workout habits that prevent them from skipping workouts. Self-discipline is the ability to overcome one’s weaknesses and feelings to achieve a predefined goal.
Those with strong fitness habits have been proven to have great willpower, which helps them achieve goals in other areas of their lives. So how can you develop self-discipline and workout habits to achieve your fitness goals? Keep reading for some great self-control tips and self-discipline exercises.
1. Have a Strong Why
The first tip you should use to develop an ironclad fitness habit is to identify a strong reason why you want to get fit. Is it to live long enough to meet your grandchildren? Is it so that you can have an overall healthy life? Whatever the reason, one strong enough to make it easy to stick to your workouts.
Have you ever listened to a motivational speech that got you to exercise when you didn’t want to? Having a ‘strong why’ for a fitness routine has the same motivating effect. A disciplined person with a solid reason will stick to their planned workouts come what may.
2. Don’t Skip a Single Workout Day
To develop a fail-proof fitness habit you must commit to never miss a single workout. The first time you miss a workout, you will show yourself that it’s okay to continue missing days. The more days you miss, the less you’ll develop your workout habit. Soon enough you will stop exercising altogether.
This is the reason why self-development gurus always recommend that we set small, achievable fitness goals that we can stick to. For instance, commit to workout once a week and never miss a session of your weekly workouts. You can increase the workouts to twice a week after you have consistently done your weekly workouts for at least a month.
3. Workout in the Morning
It isn’t a coincidence that most of the people that have a consistent fitness routine tend to workout in the morning. Planning to exercise in the evening can come with many distractions that can derail your plans. You may have a stressful day at work and feel too agitated, tired or stressed to work out.
You may have to attend a work meeting or important family event that you can’t excuse yourself from. Scheduling your workouts in the morning ensures that you get it done each time without any distractions. Another reason to schedule your workouts in the morning is that your willpower is greatest when you wake up.
During the day you will face many temptations that test your willpower muscle. By the end of the day, willpower starts to dwindle with our energy and time constraints.
4. Track Your Habit
Another great tip you can use to strengthen your self-discipline to achieve fitness goals is to track your progress. There are many habit tracker apps that you can download into your phone to log all the workouts you do. The more workouts you log, the harder it will be for you to miss a workout because you won’t want to break your success streak.
You can also track how fit you are becoming by logging the statistics of your workouts. In the beginning, you might walk 3000 steps in half an hour but then move up to 5000 steps. Seeing your fitness progress will encourage you to stick to your fitness habits.
5. Work On One Habit at a Time
Whenever we decide to make a lifestyle change, we often go overboard and set too many goals. A great example of this is New Year’s resolutions. People often set resolutions to work out daily, eat clean, stop smoking and drinking, read 52 books, etc. Then by the second week of the new year, they tend to give up on all the goals.
If you want to succeed at your fitness goals, devote all your willpower to establishing one major habit. Once you are consistent with your big goal, you can attempt to create another habit. As an example, you can choose working out three times a week as your target goal. Do this consistently for at least 3 months before taking on another challenge or habit.
6. Focus on Creating a Lifestyle Rather Than Achieving a Specific Goal
One of the main reasons why people give up on their fitness goals is that they set a specific goal such as get a six-pack or run a marathon. The problem is that if you achieve the goal you will stop your fitness habit as there won’t be any reason to continue working out.
Alternatively, if you set an unrealistic goal and are unable to achieve it in your expected time you’ll also get discouraged and give up. But if your goal is to be a person that works out three times a week there is never an end to the goal. As long as you work out consistently every week you’ll achieve your goal and become the person you want to be.
Practice Self-discipline to Reach Your Goals
One characteristic that most fit people have is self-discipline or a strong workout habit. So anyone that wants to achieve their fitness goals must use self-discipline to create a workout habit that they never deviate from.
Use our tips to develop your self-discipline. But remember that willpower is a muscle and can only be strengthened with time. Don’t expect to develop your self-discipline or have an ingrained fitness habit overnight.
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