Turn Exercise Into a Habit: A Step-By-Step Guide to Habit Formation | Catrinel Girbovan | Skillshare

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Turn Exercise Into a Habit: A Step-By-Step Guide to Habit Formation

teacher avatar Catrinel Girbovan, Process Improvement Consultant PhD

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Physical Activity Guidelines

    • 3. Defining Your Why

    • 4. Basics of Habit Formation

    • 5. Developing a Move More Mindset

    • 6. Starting Small

    • 7. Make Getting Started Easier

    • 8. Indicators of Progress

    • 9. When Should You Exercise?

    • 10. Tracking Progress

    • 11. Exercising - Before / During / After

    • 12. Summary and Class Project

    • 13. Conclusion

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About This Class


As the New Year approaches, many people will set New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common aspirations is to exercise more. Unfortunately, many people give up on pursuing their resolution within a month of the New Year. Why is that?

This class will tackle the most common setbacks people face when attempting to turn exercise into a habit and will provide a clear plan as to how you can make exercise part of a healthier lifestyle this year. The methods described in this class are scientifically proven to facilitate your journey.

What will you learn?

Topics addressed in this class include:

  • What are the healthy guidelines on physical activity
  • Defining your why
  • The 3R’s of Habit Formation – The Habit Loop
  • Developing a move more mindset
  • Finding your favorite type of physical activity
  • Starting small
  • Developing a ritual
  • Implementation intentions
  • Indicators of progress
  • When to exercise to facilitate habit formation
  • Tracking your activity levels
  • Social support
  • Exercising – Before, During & After
  • Next steps – the domino effect of habits

Who is this class for?

This class is for anyone that may have tried to incorporate regular exercise into their lives and has previously failed at making the behavior stick or who would like to make a healthier lifestyle a priority this year.

For additional information regarding how best to form habits, including a scientific breakdown of habit formation, I encourage you to take my class "Creating Habits That Stick - A Step-By-Step Guide".

Additionally, if you struggle with procrastination and would like to facilitate your journey in making this habit stick, I encourage you to take my introductory classes "Learn How to Motivate Yourself: Master Self-Discipline and Get Things Done" and "Turning Procrastination into Productivity".

See you in class!


Meet Your Teacher

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Catrinel Girbovan

Process Improvement Consultant PhD


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My Story 

I am a Performance and Process Consultant. Having first earned a PhD in Experimental Psychology, I rely on scientific evidence to bring you emerging trends, methods that work and resources that can help you create and live your dream life.

I currently help my clients create more balance in their lives by making positive changes and letting go of limiting beliefs in their personal lives and/or in their careers. I take a proactive approach by guiding people in tweaking their beliefs and habits in order to find joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives. 

 I believe every single person has something to offer and teach to the rest of th... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to this class that'll teach you how to turn exercise into a habit. Now I've chosen to record this class outdoors to show you just how easy it is to develop a move more mindset, which is just one of the few things that we're going to talk about in this class. The second reason being I couldn't pass up this winter wonderland scene, so let get started. Most people, myself included will want to become better this year. However, most of us will also set performance or appearance base goals in hopes that they will drive us to do things differently in this coming year. That being said, the number one most common used resolution that people have is, well, the title of this class, is exercising more regularly. However, as I'm sure most of you know, many people give up their resolution come February. Why is that? The main reason why new year's resolution stand to fail is because people take on too much, they want to incorporate too many behaviors and turn them into habits all are once and we're not very good multi-taskers, especially not when it comes to habits. The other reason is that people don't understand that behaviors vary in difficulties. Some of them don't require as many steps in order to implement, whereas others are quite laborious, and not only that, but something like exercise is both physically and psychologically demanding. A lot of people go in and try to change such a behavior without actually having any plan on how they're going to go about doing that. This is what this class is going to be doing differently as we're going to make a plan on how we're going to introduce exercise into our lives. This class will address topics such as what are the minimal physical activity requirements set by health organizations across the world? Also how do habits actually form, so we're going to dive into that by talking about the habit loop. We're also going to talk about how best to incorporate this specific habit into our lives. Is there such a thing as a better time of the day as to when we should be exercising? Stick around because we're gonna talk about all of that and a lot more. If you're wondering, is this class for me? Well, if you're one of those people that has tried to make exercise a habit and has failed previously, then this class is for you, or perhaps you've never tried but you would like to do it the right way. Then this class is for you. Now let's get started because we have a lot to cover. 2. Physical Activity Guidelines: Before we begin, I want to quickly address a few important points. In order to turn exercise into a habit, the number one requirement is going to be that you remain patient with yourself and your body throughout this process. It will take time, it will take work, it'll take self-discipline when motivation lacks, but it will pay off, I promise. On that note, I also want you to try to avoid the temptation to incorporate other habits at this time, because this is going to decrease your chances of success. But we'll talk a little bit more about that later in the class. You have to remember that what we're going to implement is a habitat that is very demanding both physically and mentally. You don't want to jeopardize that by overwhelming yourself with multiple habits all at once. Stay on track with me and using the tools that I provide, you will see that you can lead a healthier lifestyle this year. It doesn't matter how many times you may have failed at incorporating this habit into your life. You are here now and now, the present moment is the only time when we can really make a difference in our lives. On that note, the last thing I'd like to add is that and I'm sure most of you know this, you don't have to begin this process on the 1st of January. Begin today. I know there's so much pressure associated with the 1st of January because it's the beginning of a new year. But honestly, we all know that it doesn't really matter which day you begin. Just get started. Now that we've covered all the basics, let's get started. Let's begin with a bit of background on the minimum physical activity requirements to maintain good health. These guidelines are from some of the governing bodies on health, like the American College of Sports Medicine in the United States, or the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, as well as the World Health Organization or WHO. According to recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, five days a week, or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, three days a week. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology also adds that each week, children and youth should accumulate at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. Now, what we're going to notice is that all of these organizations referred to exercise as being either moderate or vigorous and intensity. Let's break down what that means. The World Health Organization defines moderate-intensity physical activities. Those activities that will cause adults to sweat a little and to breathe harder. These include things such as brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, gardening, walking your dog, carrying, or moving loads of less than 20 kilos or 44 lbs. Vigorous-intensity physical activities are activities that will cause adults to sweat and be out of breath. These include things such as jogging, cross-country skiing, fast cycling, aerobics, fast swimming, competitive sports, or carrying or moving loads of more than 20 kilos or 44 lbs. Now, these are general guidelines and the reason I'm pointing these out is because they should be considered as our baseline goal what we aim to achieve by incorporating exercise as a habit. Now that we know the guidelines, what are the effects of implementing such routines on our general health? While the Canadian Society for exercise physiology states that for adults 18-64, following these guidelines can reduce the risk of premature death, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, as well as improved fitness, body composition, and indicators of mental health. The potential benefits far exceed the potential risks associated with physical activity. I want to highlight this last line because it's going to serve as a great reminder when you're faced with the physical challenges of exercising, especially at the very beginning, I want you to remember that there will be this time where the discomfort is going to be temporary and the benefits are far going to outweigh the discomfort you are in in that moment. This is where you're going to have to exert them mind over matter part of habit formation. A little bit about willpower we talked about. I personally find that a quick reminder about the impermanence of discomfort in our moment helps a lot. Try to remember that, that what you're doing right now is a temporary discomfort in the grand scheme of things. 3. Defining Your Why: Why is this behavior important to you? Why do you want to exercise regularly? Is it because you generally want to make a change? Is it because you want to become healthier, stronger, faster? or is it because research consistently shows that those who exercise on a regular basis are not just healthier. They are also more energetic, more productive, and have more willpower, and you want to be one of these people. Now by having a genuine purpose for why you want to exercise, you will make creating the habit easier. Thinking about your purpose causes the area of your brain that is responsible for your long-term goals to activate. This is going to give you a rush of willpower as you begin to picture yourself achieving what you are setting out to do. You are also going to be increasing intrinsic motivation. That is extremely important. In thinking about your why. I also want you to think about your belief system. You want to implement a new behavior. This means that you also want to change the person you currently are, for the better. Focus on the type of person that you want to become. Think about the type of habits that this person has and focus on who you want to become. Now this is going to be, probably the biggest driving force when it comes to your why. This will become important habit formation, because we want to remove the focus from result-driven behavior change and turn it towards the process, making the process bigger than the result. In order to do that, you need to spend some time breaking down who this person that you want to be is. What are your days like? By breaking down these components, you are in fact creating a recipe for your own success. You are creating small achievable steps that will become your small wins eventually. The ones that are going to boost your intrinsic motivation to keep going and stay on track. I want to invite you to take some time and fill out the form that's supplementary to this class and really write down and hone in on your why. Why are you doing this? Who do you want to become? Be as specific as you can be in terms of what the habits of this person that you want to become are. Eventually, you are going to have to start thinking about this as your recipe for success. It's something that I encourage you to remind yourself daily of because it's easy to get off track if you aren't reminding yourself of why you're working out and why you are eating healthy. Why are these things important to you? This is going to go back to your core motivation that we addressed earlier. You want to make it automatic to wake up in the morning and remind yourself of why exercise is important to you. You are going to become more likely to keep the commitments you make to yourself. You are also going to be putting exercise front and center on your day instead of treating it as an after thought that you would skip a day's end. Because waking up thinking of what exercise you will do that day, it becomes a priority. It's something that you think about on a day-to-day basis. This is why I'm doing this, because this is the type of person that I want to become. That person has these types of habits. It's going to become part of who you are, who this better version of yourself is. It becomes part of your identity. This is extremely important, especially at the very beginning when we are trying to motivate ourselves to do the exercise required. I highly encourage you to read up on your why on a day-to-day basis either before you go to bed or first thing when you wake up, read your statement. Whatever it is, it's going to actually boost your motivation to get out of bed and do what you need to do to get moving. 4. Basics of Habit Formation: How do habits form? Let's quickly go over the habit loop or the three R's of habit formation. The sequence has been proven again and again by behavioral psychology researchers as the three necessary steps to effective habit formation. These include the reminder or the cue trigger that initiates the behavior, followed by the routine or the behavior itself, or the action that you take in response to the trigger. Finally, the reward or the benefit that you gain from doing the behavior. Therefore, a cue has to trigger a habit. Otherwise, that habit isn't going to run. In this way, habits are similar to if then statements in coding language, a condition needs to be met for the code in the statement to run. Now, all habit cues fall into one of five categories. The location or the context in which the behavior is performed, the time at which it is performed, your emotional state, other people, or the immediately preceding action. As an example, let's look at flossing. If you have a habit of flossing your teeth each time before bed, the cue for flossing could be any of these five cues. It could be the exact time of the day when you perform your night routine, it could be the immediately preceding action, like having just finished brushing your teeth, it could be the fact that your floss is in the same spot every day by your sink next to toothbrush, or it could be a behavior that you perform at the same time as your partner, and therefore you're using another person as a cue to trigger your own behavior. Now, keeping some of these cues constant, especially at the beginning, facilitates turning a behavior into a habit. This is why we're going to try to do with exercise as well. But there's actually a fourth component to the habit loop called craving. When a habit is in the initial stages of being built, the brain's reward response, which is essentially a dopamine spike, is activated when the habits of reward is received. Your brain releases a shot of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers, which makes sense. However, as the habit becomes more ingrained, this changes. Eventually, the reward response happens right after the cue triggers the habit. It happens in anticipation of the reward. This creates a craving to get that reward and serves to keep the habit going strong. Now an example would be leaving your workout clothes on the counter in the bathroom. That is going to serve as the cue. Once you've brushed your teeth in the morning, the first thing you're going to see on the counter next to your sink is going to be a pile of clothes, your workout clothes. This is going to be the reminder. Once you put them on and you've exercised, which is the action or the behavior in response to the reminder, you're going to feel great, energized, and happy, which serves as the reward. Now if the reward is positive, you're going to have a desire to repeat the behavior the next time the reminder is present. Eventually, this positive feedback loop makes your brain want to repeat the behavior in order to achieve that positive reward, which will turn your behavior into a habit. If you require a more in-depth review of habit formation, I do encourage you to take my class on creating habits that stick. But I think this is a pretty solid explanation of how habits work and how your brain works with regards to creating rewards in anticipation of you performing that behavior. 5. Developing a Move More Mindset: Now that we've reviewed the actual biology and how habits are formed, let's talk a little bit about the actual next step that you're going to have to be doing, which is work with your mind, develop a move more mindset. We're going to start very small, and this is one of the first steps. I want you to think of all the possible ways that you can move your body more without actually labeling the activity as exercise. You can play your favorite song and dance your heart out to it for about three minutes, and even though, yes, you're going to get some cardio in there, we don't want to label it as exercise it's dancing, it's fun. You could also stretch out your desk, set a timer on the hour where you're going to be forcing yourself to get up, move around, and stretch. You could also go for a walk at lunchtime, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Again, the goal here is not to force ourselves to exercise and label it, because that just might not actually entice us to start doing it at all. We want to start very small, just changing our mindset and this is going to become habitual. We're just the type of people that move more on a day-to-day basis. Next step, find your favorite types of physical activity. Exercise doesn't mean you have to be running on a treadmill for half an hour or staring at a blank wall, you can spice up your routine with dance classes, kick boxing, or run. You can do so much that is available to you by attending dropping classes. I know a lot of gyms and a lot of studios offer that, and this is the fun part, the options are endless. What do you like doing and what don't you like doing? This is going to be important at the very beginning to try to figure out because this is going to help you get started. Think about the sports and the activities that you've tried in the past that you've either liked or not liked or things that you would like to try, now is the time. Remember to look into gyms nearby or studios, yoga studios that offer drop in rates where you can just go in and try one class and see whether you'll like it or not. I'm personally a huge fan of workout videos, and there is a wide variety available across social media platforms. There's so many fitness gurus that offer their own fitness programs. What that meant for me was that I no longer was required to stick to a treadmill or the gym, or I could actually perform these exercises at home in the comfort of my own home and also take them or access them anywhere. Whether I traveled there or not, I had access to them. I really love the online availability of workouts because there's just so much of variety out there. I can do yoga classes from online fitness gurus, I can also do weight training and hit workouts, and everything is just accessible very easily. It's something that you should look into if that interests you. But what I find most appealing about these online workouts is the fact that before I go to bed each night, I know what I will be doing the following day because most of these programs are either 30 day programs or they're set up in such a way that you're able to access the next day's work out and you can take a look at what you'll be doing, and they're organized in such a way that you're working all your body parts throughout the week, which is really great because it takes the guessing work out of performing the behavior, and therefore make it much easier for you to get started the following day. You're not going to be thinking in the morning, "Okay, what do I need to do? Which work out am I doing? Where do I need to download it from or access it?" Everything is all there. I'm going to share in the description box of the class which one that I'm currently using, but there's many out there, so I encourage you to just take a look around and see what works for you. Now in terms of finding what exercises you like, I want you to also be thinking about whether you like exercising alone, in groups. Do you need a friend than accountability partner to go to gym with? Do you like attending a gym to begin with or do you prefer working out at home? These are all things that you're going to have to think about and narrow down. But have fun with this part of habit formation, try out different activities and see what you like, and you're going to be a lot more likely to perform an exercise that brings you joy rather than one that you actually really dread. Go ahead, have fun, figure out what you like, what gets you moving. 6. Starting Small: In this section we're going to talk about the importance of starting small. You're going to see me stress this a lot because I've seen so many people start with very demanding exercise routines and push through for a week or two before finally giving up and this is why we talked about at the beginning, news resolutions tend to fail. I've been guilty of this in the past too. Start small. This is not a race and no one will hand you a medal for making exercise a habit sooner than you're capable of. This battle that you're fighting is against yourself. When you choose to do this hardcore exercise implementation routine, like a lot of people tend to do at the beginning of January, what you're actually doing is entirely relying on willpower to get you to start the behavior and to continue with the behavior. But here's the thing. Willpower is a limited resource and this is something that I bring up a lot in a lot of my classes on productivity, as well as habit formation. It's not at the core of effective habit formation. Now is not the time to rely on willpower. Now with a habit that is as psychologically and physically demanding as exercise in order to implement. Because all it will take for willpower to let you down is one day. One day where you skip a workout for whatever reason might be that you're sick, it might be that you're just overwhelmed. The next time you're actually going to require willpower to get you back on track, you're going to notice that it's just not there. It's a no-show and down you go and the behavior dissipates and it's never going to reach habits status. The reason I'm mentioning these things to you is not to discourage you, but to make you aware of your own limitations. As human beings, willpower is one our limitations. It's not something that we have endless supplies of. So I'd rather you focus on using the methods that we talk about in this class so that you better prepare yourself to turn this behavior into a habit. Some of the things we've already talked about so far, just to go over quickly were things such as keeping the cues that trigger the behavior constant, such as the context in which you perform the behavior, the type of the day, the action proceeding the behavior. So ultimately what you want to be doing is to start small. What that means is start with committing to one day a week to performing an exercise routine, and then two and so forth. Remember that consistency and repetition is what will turn this behavior into a habit rather than relying on willpower. Start with an exercise that is ridiculously small. In the same way that we want to start small with regards to the frequency at which we perform an exercise routine, we also want to start small with the actual exercise routine itself. So the best way to make exercise a habit is to start with an exercise that is so easy that you can do it even when you're running low on willpower and you can get yourself motivated to work out without any willpower there. It's very simple when you think about it, focus on finding a way to get started in just two minutes. The two-minute rule is something that I talk about with regards to productivity as well. Rather than worrying about your entire workout, just aim to start and work out for two minutes. Because once you get started, you're going to boost your internal motivation, your intrinsic motivation, and that'll help you keep going. So you don't need to worry about the rest of the workout. You need to worry about something that is simple enough to get you started and workout for two minutes. So if you're struggling to find motivation to go for a run or to exercise, those cues and those reminders are going to help that we talked about. So fill up your water bottle and put it on your running shoes, or make sure that your workout clothes are sitting on the counter, ready to go in your bathroom counter, or on the edge of your beds so that you're ready to go first thing in the morning. The reason being is that at the very beginning, when we're trying to turn this behavior into a habit, it's going to take an actual conscious effort to perform this new behavior. Whereas over time the neural connections will strengthen, which will make the behavior much easier to perform. We also talked about the fact that you're going to start getting that boost of dopamine ahead of having completed the behavior, you're going to get it right before you begin. Those are also things that are going to help you over time to get started much more easily. So you're not always going to have to rely on this two-minute rule. But at the very beginning, it's going to be important to just get that behavior going and start working with making a more consistent. 7. Make Getting Started Easier: Develop a ritual to make starting easier. This is the point in the class where we're going to take some of the things that we learned with regards to habit formation and put them into practice. Now at this stage, I will assume that you have given some thought as to what your, "Why" is, that you've developed the move more mindset, and that you found some of the exercises that you enjoy and that aren't too difficult to begin. You're now ready to create a ritual to make starting easier. Remember that habits are behaviors that you repeat over and over again. Which means that they are also behaviors that you start over and over again. If you really think about it, habit formation really is about consistently starting a behavior many times over. It's less about the actual discomfort of performing it, than getting over the discomfort of starting it. What this means is that if you can find a way to make getting started easier, then you can find a way to make building a habit easier. Now, this is where building a consistent routine comes in. If you can develop a ritual that makes starting your workout mindless and automatic, then it will be much easier to follow through. Remember the habit loop, and how the cue trigger is defined by the context, the time, the action immediately preceding the behavior. You can make things easier on yourself by keeping exercise, time consistent, the place in the context where you exercise, as well as the immediately preceding action constant. This will make it easier to automate the start of the behavior. You can also choose to stack the behavior of exercising on top of a current habit that you already have, so that whenever you perform that specific habit, exercise will immediately follow. For me, it's putting on my workout clothes. I can't think of a time where I woke up, put them on and backed out of a workout. I know I'd feel pretty ridiculous going through the trouble of putting on everything and then just standing there and saying, "Well, I guess I'm not going to work out." It just works together with that behavior, and it's something that you can do as well. Now, there's a few ways that you can go about creating a routine. You can list out all the behaviors that you actually perform on a day-to-day basis, to see where you're going to fit exercise in. Now, for example, my routine is I wake up, drink a glass of water, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, put on workout clothes, begin. Now, this is something that you can look over the night before, as well as revisiting in the morning, if you like, while you're reading about your why. But what's important with this is that you implement exercise into your routine, and so even though it's not something you currently do, it's going to become something you do because it's part of your to-do list from now on, and it's going to be in line with everything else that you are already performing. Now another very efficient method, it's similar to this one, but it's actually set an intention to exercise by filling out the specific sentence. "During the next week, I will exercise on," and you insert the day, at time of day, at or in this place or the context. Now, research has shown that you are two times to three times more likely to stick with your habits if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you will perform the behavior. For example, in one study, scientists asked people to fill out this sentence. During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on, insert the day, at, insert time of day and in place. Implementation intentions have been found to increase the odds that people will start exercising. Not only exercising, but begin recycling, stick with studying, as well as stop smoking. This method works at both picking up good habits and dropping bad ones. One research study show that when people had implementation intentions, they were 2-3 times more likely to exercise over the long run, and so developing an actual habit of exercise. Remember how at the beginning of the class I mentioned that if you want to make exercise a habit, then you must try not to implement other habits at the same time. I can now tell you why. It turns out that research has shown that implementation intentions only work when you focus on one goal at a time. Again, this is a reminder that slow and steady will get us to where we want to get with regards to exercise, and it also tells us why most New Year's resolutions fail. It is one of those times of the year when people take on too much and want to do too much without a plan. Take some time to actually write down your routine or your implementation intention, before you actually get started with exercising into your weekly routine. 8. Indicators of Progress: Be aware of all the indicators of progress. The typical approach to diet and exercise is to focus on results first. Most people start out with some type of goal, I want to lose 20 pounds in the next four months, or I want to get a six pack by March. These are appearance based goals or performance-based goals. What I want you to try to do is forget these, forget the scale. In fact, throw the thing out. I mean it. Many people get discouraged and inevitably stop exercising when too much emphasis is put on weight loss. There's this long held belief that the scale and exercise go hand in hand, when in fact, a healthy heart, mental health goes hand in hand with exercise. That's all you need to worry about at this stage of the game. What matters most in the beginning is establishing a new normal and building a new routine that you will stick to, not the results that you get. In other words, in the first six months, it is more important to not miss a workout than it is to make appearance based progress. Though, you probably going to notice some changes in that department as well. Once you become the type of person who doesn't miss workouts, then you can start worrying about making progress and improving in those aspects. So the main goal should remain to feel good, maintain good health, and the rest will come in time. Take pride in how your body and your mind feel after exercising, how strong you are getting, how much more energy you have. It's great when your clothes fit better and you can lift heavier weights, but those shouldn't be the main focus as you begin integrating exercise into your life. Instead of focusing on weight loss, lifting heavier weights, focus on these progress indicators instead. Getting a good night sleep, thinking more clearly, having more energy, realizing that your muscles aren't screaming after you've helped a friend move furniture or playing around with your children, seeing your resting heart rate drop over time, as well as maybe even hearing your doctor congratulate you on your improved cholesterol, blood pressure, and other health indicators. So stop yourself from forming appearance and performance-based goals as they will hinder your progress. That is a takeaway message here. 9. When Should You Exercise?: Exercise when you first wake up. I know, some of you are night owls and might be thinking, well, that's just not going to work for me. Hear me out. I am willing to admit that there are many reasons to work out in the evenings. It helps you on wine from a stressful day at work, your body is much more awake and less stiff and ready to exert itself. Or you might simply not be a morning person. These are all valid reasons. But in order to set up this habit, there are three key reasons that you must do it in the morning. So hear me out. Reason number one, life happens at night, not in the morning. What does that mean? Well, it means that most of you have probably never been invited to a party at six in the morning, or how many times have you had to attend your daughter's ballet recital before school? Or how many times have you had a meeting scheduled for 05:00 AM? That one might be possible, but very uncommon. The truth is, life happens in the evening for all of us, whether we're early risers or night owls. You might have to stay late to work. You might have to study in the evening. You might have to attend your kids activities after school. Your co-workers may invite you to a happy hour. There are commitments that are tough to get out of. If you write out your implementation intention and commit to a work out in the evening, you're stuck in quite a few odds against you by the sheer nature that evenings are busier than mornings. Luckily, life happens far less in the morning. You simply will not have the same temptations to skip your work out in the morning as opposed to the evening. They're usually just are no commitments to be kept at 05:00 AM. The only thing you need to worry about is just force yourself out of bed and throw a workout. Reason number two, you have the option to create the right environment in the morning, in the evening, you really have no idea what your circumstances are going to be. You might be tired, you might be stressed, you might be just not ready to work out. There's just your kids are around, you have to think about dinner. You just really exhausted and you just want to relax. Now the thing is with mornings, there simply are less variables to account for. Usually, it really is just about waking up and dealing with tiredness at most. Because there's less commitments, there are also more opportunities for you to stage the best environment to help you both wake up and ward off tiredness. Now, you can even make this easier on yourself by setting up your coffee maker to start out as your alarm rings. You can also wake up to an energizing tune. Like I mentioned before, you can have your workout clothes ready to go on the side of your bed. This will make it easier to establish the habit. Because remember, these can also and most likely will serve as your trigger cues to initiate the behavior. Reason number three, and this is a very important one. Your willpower is strongest in the morning. Willpower, or what we refer to as self-control, is a limited resource. Now quite a few studies have shown that we, at some point or another, suffer for well-powered depletion, which is what happens when we repeatedly exert self-control to either initiate certain behaviors or to abstain from others, like bad habits, for instance. Well, it turns out that willpower is strongest in the morning and gradually wings off throughout the day as we make more and more decisions. Now there are many factors that can reboot willpower, including food, nourishing your body, regenerating your blood glucose levels. But also setting goals that are intrinsically motivated rather than externally set by others. Hence, why it is so important for you to define your why, because this could actually help you reboot your willpower whenever you're short. Now, many things throughout our day will deplete us of our willpower. If you plan on exercising an evening, just know that it may just be a little more difficult to do that for that specific reason alone. This is why our willpower is highest in the morning. It just simply hasn't had to go through the draining tasks of the day. There's more of it available to help us get out of bed, get dressed, and get an exercising. I hope that I've somehow managed to convince you why at least you make regular exercise a habit, you should try to aim and work out first thing in the morning. 10. Tracking Progress: Track your activity levels. This will serve you both to implement the habit and to motivate you to keep going. We have a natural desire for self-improvement, so take advantage of your inner drive to improve by tracking your progress. Create a workout journal and write down all of your exercises. Now, this might seem tedious, but by tracking the progress, you will find a desire within yourself to constantly improve. Personally, I've been steadily working on improving my flexibility through yoga, and I've always wanted to be able to do headstands and the splits, and for me taking progress pictures has helped boost my confidence in my ability. It's something that like we mentioned before, a skill when pick up on, wouldn't be able to see a progress and flexibility that way, and so progress pictures are another great way to track your progress as well. Again, just don't make it so that it's about the physical appearance. It's about the actual improving your flexibility and getting stronger, and so on. But it's another great way to track progress. The other thing you can do is you can write down the things that are important to you when it comes to exercising. This could be how much time you exercise each day, how many steps you've walked, how far you ran or you cycled. You can also do this using an actual habit tracker, so in paper format. You can actually write down your habits or write down how many steps you've taken and so on or you can use one of those fitness trackers because these keep track of the steps you take and how many minutes you've worked out, your heart rate as well, and it's another great way to start working on building that move more mindset. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter which tracker method you use as long as it works for you and it keeps you motivated. Next, we have social support. This is something that a lot of people don't talk about when it comes to implementing an exercise routine. When I'm referring to social support, I don't mean an accountability partner, I mean, surround yourself with people that are of the same mindset as you, people that exercise regularly. Remember the new identity that you're trying to build. This new person that regularly exercise is probably things around people that also exercise regularly. You can follow fitness accounts on Instagram or YouTube gurus that make you feel more connected to a fitness community. Now, I do want to add a word of caution here though. The purpose of this step is purely for support and motivation and to feel connected to a community. Not comparison. Never, ever compare your beginning to someone else's middle with regards to your fitness journey, and this is obviously very true in any aspect of life. Comparison to others will halt your own progress. I am, however, giving you permission to compare your performance to yourself through your own performance, and that means that every day that you're exercising, you're becoming a better version of yourself. You're becoming stronger, healthier, and more energized. But again, just do not compare yourself to others. This will have a damaging effect on both your self-esteem and crush your motivation. 11. Exercising - Before / During / After: Exercising before, during and after. Before you exercise. If you follow my suggestion of exercising first thing in the morning, you will have to make sure your hydrate before you begin. You also want to make sure you get enough sleep. Go to bed earlier if you're starting to wake up a little earlier. If you exercise during the day, make sure you have eaten something half an hour or an hour before. No big meals. Also make sure you stretch but try to aim for active stretches rather than static ones which may lead to injury. Save those for the end of your workout. The actual exercise, remember what the guidelines say. Adults aged 16 to 84 should accumulate at least a 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week, in bouts of ten minutes or more. Plan around that. Let's talk about a few components of a good exercise routine. What I want you to do is to aim for an efficient workout. What that means is pick a workout form that you can do almost anywhere, whether you're traveling or getting home from the office late. Ideally, you want something that doesn't require too much preparation, especially at first when we're trying to make this a habit. Things such as high-intensity interval training or hit workouts, Tabata training, body weight exercises and running [inaudible] choices to begin with. These will get your heart rate up and make you meet the minimum exercise requirements. Now the guidelines also recommend the following. You want to create or have an exercise routine in place that combines cardio exercise with strength training irrespective of age or fitness level, because both of these are necessary to maintain good health. Aim to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice per week. This is according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. What they also say is that more physical activity, provides greater health benefits. It's not like once you reach the minimum, you're done and there's no more benefit to be gained. Actually, you don't have to limit yourself to the minimum requirement. You can work out more. Just be aware of your own body and its own demands. If you're tired, if you're overworking yourself, take a rest day and so on. The other thing that I wanted to mention is that you absolutely need to avoid what people call the stop and start and stop again syndrome, which is allowing distractions to interrupt your actual workout. Put your phone away. Don't allow distractions. Once you commit and you start, make sure you finish. Because one way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your exercise routine. What you're doing then is you actually having to exert more willpower each time, just so that you can start back up and you don't want to do that. Commit to where you can actually achieve, be realistic and then do it. After you exercise, be sure to stretch, hydrate and fuel your body with the right nutrients. After weight training for example, you should fill your body some protein, either plant-based or animal-based. But I do encourage you to do your own research to find out what best you should fill your body with after a workout. 12. Summary and Class Project: Let's review what we talked about, which was a lot. So let's do that in a condensed format. First, we looked at exercise guidelines put forth by some of the major health organizations across the world. We then discuss the importance of defining out why and how it was more than just picking up a healthy habit, but in fact about redefining our identity as well in the process. We reviewed some basic concepts with regards to habit formation and broke down the major contributing factors to habits, which are the reminder or the cue, the routine, as well as the reward and we now know just how important cues are in helping us begin our desired behavior. I then encourage you to develop a move more mindset and to spend some time finding your favorite activities. We talked about the importance of starting small and using the right progress indicators. I then went on a rant about why you should most definitely be exercising in the morning, even if you're a night owl and why you should track your progress on this journey towards better health.I encourage you to use the supplemental material I have created that is available in the class description. But to keep the main message of this class clear as this is about incorporating a new habit rather than about fitness progress, I'm not going to be asking you to show me where you are on your fitness journey or ask you to pose the before and after picture. I also don't need to see your habit tracker filled out. I generally just ask that you post a picture of yourself moving more, doing an activity that gets your heart rate up, and that you also love, ideally with a smile on your face. 13. Conclusion: We've reached the end of the class. I really hope you can now begin your exercise journey with a confidence that you know everything there is to know about the best ways to implement this habit. What's next? You might wonder. Well, once you've introduced exercise as a habit, you're going to notice something that researchers referred to as the domino effect of habits, which means that once you introduce a good habit, others will follow. That's because behaviors are interconnected. You're going to notice, like I have, that something like healthy eating, which happens to be the number 2, new year's resolution that people want to implement, is a lot easier to implement once you've picked up exercise as a habit. Turns out that creating a new identity that we talked about, create somewhat of a ripple effect on your life, as I'm sure many of you will notice once you incorporate this new habit. With that, I thank you so much for watching. I encourage you to read questions or feedback, and wish you the best on your journey.