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Ben Dillon
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Routine, a word that for many can strike a level of unease.

It takes us back to organised sport, school, and bedtimes as a kid.

Some we loved, others we may hated, when we were young, but now that we are adults, we’d pay our hard earned for someone to give us that secret routine.

So let’s talk about that secret “what”, “how”, “when” and “where”, that get us up, gets us going and most importantly keeps us going.

 

What’s insideRoutine

1. Introduction
2. Preface

Four steps

1. Pick a goal
2. Planning – Start Small
3. Find a buddy or support person
4. Consistency

How to make exercise part of your daily routine

The first thing that comes to mind for me when I hear the word “routine” is difficult. It takes me back to so many different routines that have been apart of my life that were just a pain in the butt. Things like getting up for school, doing homework, and going to bed on time, these things have a lot in common. They are good for us, someone else made us do them, and they weren’t particularly interesting.

But I tell you what, we wouldn’t be where we are today without doing those things.

So, how do we break this distaste for routine and stick to our guns?

Find that reason why this to be part of your routine.

Pick that goal, that why that gives you that push to get the job done.

So, let’s get started!

STEP 1: PICK A GOAL

Goals - Start Small

So if your reading this I’m thinking you want to make exercise part of your daily routine.

But let’s go one better and make it more specific.

Let go with the goal of creating a consistent exercise routine. After all, we want this to stick so we can see those lasting changes.

That was easy right?

Now with this in mind lets talk about these specifics.

The reason I chose this as the topic and these words is because they are exactly what you need to be focusing on when making a routine and making it stick.

Like all things worth having, unfortunately they take time and a bit of effort, but it doesn’t all have to be a drainer.

The best thing about choosing your goal, is you can choose to make it and its components work for you. Like time, place, choice of exercises and duration will all help to narrow your focus on the clear goal, help you to remain consistent and establish that lifelong routine. One with real results!

STEP 2: PLANNING – START SMALL

So, here is the best part. Yeah, I said “best”. Choosing how you get there is part of the fun.

We are often so eager to get to our goals that we don’t enjoy the journey. Now this may also have a negative connection to our past routines from when we were younger but this is where you change that, and for the better.

One of best and worst things about being an adult is having drum up the willpower to get going, keep going, and stay on track. But why is it that when we set out on changing our existing routines that we drop a giant, often difficult task right in the middle of it, that is seemingly good, but we deep down ultimately know it will derail us?

This is where we need to keep it simple!

Part of accurate goal setting, especially when it comes to making lasting change it to make it achievable.

We are more impatient than ever when it comes to virtually everything these days as we are in an age where everything is conveniently at our fingertips, however unfortunately with exercise,  we still have to get up, get moving and actually do something.

How To Do it:

Step 1: Identify something that you want to do better or more frequently regarding your current exercise plan (this maybe, you love walking but don’t do enough).

Step 2: Map out your week for the time, duration and how often you would like to walk. E.g. Walking 20 minutes, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights at 6pm.

Step 3: Get yourself an app that tracks your walking progress, I personally use “goals-fitness” but if you already have one keep using it.

This app allows you to set the distance and uses GPS to track the route you are walking, duration, and keeps them logged so you can go back and track your progress.

Step 4: Make it a short-term goal, say walk three times a week for one month.

Step 5: Make a mid-term (after one month) make the walks longer and introduce your next routine you would like to add (this maybe a small body weight resistance exercise workout).

Now it sounds simple, and yeah it is. Making small incremental changes to your life will have a far greater long-term effect than jumping straight in the deep end.

STEP 3: FIND A BUDDY OR SUPPORT PERSON 

Typically, when we go on these major health and wellness journey, we are pumped and ready to take on our new goals, but soon find it can be pretty lonely.

We enlist in the help of our partners, children or reluctant friend to come on that walk with us, which can often sometimes make it harder, as we the unmotivated are trying to drag others who are not only unmotivated, but not invested our for that daily exercise plan.

PartnersThe way around this. Pick someone who is as motivated as you, or better yet someone who is already started and a little ahead of you, kind of like your very own exercise routine mentor.

Now I’ve been in the industry for over a decade and one thing I can say is that environments with like-minded individuals makes for a very different exercise experience.

Take group exercise for example. Whether it is Cross fit, F45 or just your local boot-camp, these types activities become more than just about the workouts, they are infectious, high energy weekly social gatherings, where people catch up with their like-minded fitness friends.

And the results speak for themselves. I’ve met so many people over the years who have never exercised in their lives, some till their 40’s who joined a boot-camp thinking it’d just be one day a week, who are now the boot-camp junkies, and are doing obstacle course racing.

Now I’m not saying you need to go to the extreme, maybe just tag along next time your friend from work asks you head out for a walk that night, or a local boxing class, and you will be surprised not only how much easier it is to get going, but how much easier it is to stay there.

How To Do It:

  1. Identify someone with like-minded goals
  2. Choose an activity to do together, or a join class
  3. Make each other accountable

STEP 4: CONSISTENCY

This is the final step in how to create a consistent exercise routine.

By creating a plan for your goal, and partnering up with another like-minded person, you’re well on your way making this thing stick.

Consistency is mostly overlooked by many as we can give into that all-or-nothing mentality. Those days we “can’t be bothered” or had one bad meal, so we write the rest of the day off.

ProgressThis sadly is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.

So here is how I think of it.

Let’s use nutrition as an example.

Many people have one bad meal, that either mentally allows them to let the rest of the day slip into poor eating or breaks them after weeks of being so good.

This may seem like a lone incident, but little does the person committing this crime know, that this is the beginning of the decline of  their daily routine.

Countless times I have seen clients never miss a session for the first few months, then they miss one, and then it becomes the routine thing to hit the snooze button and get the extra 15 minute sleep.

Now I’m not saying we can’t have this slip ups, but what we need to do it treat them as one-off incidents and refocus.

So, the example (Nutrition).

  • Say you have 5 meals a day, 7 day a week. That’s 35 meals total
  • One unhealthy meal = 1 poor meal out of 35
  • 5 bad meals = 5/35

But what we often do is we allow that one bad meal become all 5 for the day and we waste it.

So here is my suggestion. As previously mentioned, this is your plan so you can make it work for you!

Say you are giving yourself 3 cheat meals a week (3/35) choose when they are and eat accordingly around those meals.

For example, I love pizza. So much so that it has a planned day as a part of my routine.

On those days I manage my food intake (calories) in anticipation of the blowout for the ‘one’ meal that night.

Then, the next day I make it a priority to refocus, and get back to my daily routine.

This works in the case with basically everything. So, lets take our 3 weekly walks. Miss one? Make sure you refocus and either make up that walk or stick the next week of scheduled walks.

How To Do It:

  1. Focus on goal
  2. Allow for missed sessions/cheat meals
  3. Refocus the next session/next meal

Summary

If you want to make exercise part of your daily routine know that it will take time, effort and plan.

But understand that YOU are in control, so make it work for you.

So, find a friend, set those goals, take small steps, but most importantly stay consistent. Allow for those hiccoughs, and small missteps, but make sure you refocus straight after.

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