Starting a Workout Habit That Works

How I started a workout habit that has lasted weeks, actionable advice to build your own exercise routine, and a FREE Workout Habit template to set and track your exercise goals.

In the previous edition, I talked about incorporating a workout routine in my daily wind-down to get ready for bed. Working out tires me out, and following it up with a relaxing shower gets me ready for bed.

While I tried keeping up a workout schedule before, I could never keep it up consistently and frequently break the chain, which used to kill my motivation further. But this time, I incorporated it into my life to the point that it feels like a regular part of my life (which is key to habit formation). This is my fourth week working out every day, and I hope to continue it without breaks.

In this edition, I talk about how I finally made working out a part of my life and slowly building it into a habit that lasts. 

1️⃣ Start Small

The key to habit formation is to start with something tiny.

If you’re someone without a working-out habit, start with a small goal such as working out for 15 minutes a day. There are many routines on Youtube for beginners that are about 15-20 minutes long. Again, aim to start small but be consistent. Showing up matters the most- it doesn’t matter how long or what you do during the workout, it’s just important to show up each day.

Start with a small, easy-to-follow workout routine. Maybe it’s a short 10-minute walk on the road around your house, maybe it is three yoga poses, maybe it is 10 minutes of stretching. Start very small and slowly build it up over the weeks.

I started with a stretching routine of 15-20 minutes on a training app I’m following, and in week two, I added some Yoga, and in week three, I added a plank. 

Start small, but do it well. 

2️⃣ Start Easy

Don’t start with a goal to work out for an hour in your day. It’s too unrealistic to make such a sudden and drastic change in your life, and it is very unlikely that it will stick. Something important will always come up, and there will always be an excuse to take a day off. Block off time on your calendar for an hour by all means- that helps you schedule some time in your day for working out consciously- but make sure that the actual workout is easy to do and with realistic goals according to your current life.

If you schedule a 1-hour session every day and don’t actually have an hour every day, you’ll break the chain whenever something else comes up, and you’ll never build the habit. Similarly, suppose you overdo it and work out too hard. In that case, you’ll exhaust yourself, and the consequent body aches will force you to take days off later, not to mention not feeling excited enough to continue putting yourself through that pain.

If you want to build a habit, start small and make it easy for yourself to show up every day.

3️⃣ Start With What You Have

It’s important to start small and make it easy to follow up, but it’s also crucial to start with what you have, so it’s a more natural process of making it part of your life and making it stick.

If you buy yourself whole new apparel and gear, this will make it a sudden transition that might take some time to get used to. However, you want to make it smooth to adjust to your new workout habit, so start with what you have instead.

Invest in new gear as you finish milestones, and this will be an incentive. For example, when I started, my workout wear was three years old, but I told myself I would only buy new ones when I completed two weeks of workout. So I bought new workout wear last week, and I’m now excited to wear it every day.

Similarly, don’t wait to enroll yourself in a gym- going to a gym every day is a habit that requires significant investment in following it. Start working out at home instead. Start with a yoga mat at home, and use your phone to get a free training app to follow along.

If you want to make sure you work out every day, start very small, make it very easy to show up each day, and start with what you have.

These fundamental principles helped me incorporate working out into my life, and it also helps my sleep cycle.  This week, my goal is to do my plank for a full minute. So what’s your small workout goal? Set it here using a free exercise and workout tracker I created for your Notion workspace:

⬇️ Click here to download the Workout Habit template.

These have been my three highlights from the productivity and personal growth space this week. If you liked what you read, connect with me on Twitter and let me know. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, subscribe to GrowPro Labs here to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

I'm on a mission to make Mondays great, and this newsletter is a part of my efforts in helping you achieve mindful productivity, personal growth, and living your Ikigai.