Did you know that, according to Club Industry, only 23% of adults in the US were getting enough exercise to meet the leisure-time physical activity guidelines? The least active states included Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Mississippi. If you’ve been trying to develop the habit of exercising or being healthier recently, then you probably know how difficult it can be to develop this exercise habit. But did you know that one of the best ways you can start developing these types of positive habits is by changing your thoughts?
If you’re thinking of doing this, then you might not be sure how to get started. After all, there’s a lot of advice out there on how to develop habits and it can get overwhelming to choose the right strategy or take that first step.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, we’ll review how you can change your thoughts to develop good habits, especially exercise. Finally, you can feel fit and confident again. Read on to learn more.
Create Micro and Macro Goals
To create positive daily habits, the first thing you need to do is change your mindset when it comes to your goals. Too often, we set goals that are so big that they get overwhelming. At the same time, having only small goals won’t lead us anywhere.
So if you want to develop a habit, you have to start with your macro goals. Think about what you want in the long term and what would make you happiest.
For example, if you want to strengthen your muscles and joints, improve your balance and posture, and sleep better, then you can do this by going to the gym regularly. This might mean going 3 to 5 days a week.
This is a good macro goal and you want to keep it in mind as you develop your exercise habit. However, to make it attainable, you need to create micro goals.
Micro goals can start with you researching gyms near you in Week One, joining a gym in Week Two, and starting attending a class twice a week in Week Three. Over time, you’ll reach your macro goal.
This puts less pressure on you and makes it easier to develop the habit of going to the gym regularly over time.
Use Behavior Chains
When it comes to how to develop a habit that sticks, using behavior chains is helpful. When you do this, you’re making your habits part of the lifestyle you already have, instead of tacking them on and meeting resistance when they get in the way of what you already do.
It also helps to be specific instead of general about the habit so that you actually do it.
For example, let’s say that you finish work every day at 5 PM. You could create a behavior chain that says, “When I finish work, I’ll get dressed for the gym, go to the gym, and ride the sedentary bike for 35 minutes.”
This is far more effective than telling yourself to exercise three times a week whenever you have the chance.
Give Yourself Fewer Options
It may seem counterintuitive, but by giving yourself fewer options, you’re making it easier to focus on your goals. When it comes to the everyday habits you already engage in, make those as simple as possible.
For example, if going to the grocery store cuts out the precious time you could be spending at the gym, schedule a specific day a week you go to the store.
Keep your grocery list on your fridge so you can quickly jot down the items you need when you notice you’re running low.
By making your everyday habits more streamlined, you’ll get through them faster and have more time to build in your new habits.
Speaking of options, you’ll also want to give yourself fewer negative options. For example, if you’re trying to diet, make your life easier by not having any unhealthy food at home.
Visualize the Process, Not the Fantasy
A big mistake many people make when setting up new habits is by visualizing the fantasy of their final results instead of the process itself. If you have a fantasy of reaching a certain level of strength or fitness, then you’ll focus more on that than the reality.
Of course, it’s good to have a long-term goal, as we’ve discussed. But when visualizing the habit, you also need to visualize the process of what it would look like every day and every week.
By focusing on the process and every single step in it, you’ll accomplish these small milestones as you get closer to your longer-term goal.
You’ll also have less anxiety because you’ve broken down the process into smaller, more attainable steps.
Understand Why Positive Habits Aren’t Working
If you’ve started implementing positive habits and they aren’t working, you might have found that you often think to yourself, “Oh, whatever, I’ll do it another time.” Instead of being hard on yourself when this happens, you should ask yourself: “Why is this my thought process?”
For example, if you’ve found that you skip the gym more often on certain days, maybe there’s something that is subconsciously keeping you from going.
Maybe you actually feel stressed about attending a specific class because you feel self-conscious about doing a new exercise in front of more experienced gym members.
If this is the case, there are several solutions. You can choose another class, hire a personal trainer, or bring a friend with you. Now you’ve fixed the reason why the habit isn’t working.
Looking for a Trainer?
Now that you know about how you can develop positive habits by changing your thoughts, you might have thought of looking for a trainer who can support you and help you achieve your milestones over time. If this is the case, look no further than Jonathan Rose.
Jonathan is a Parkinson’s specific trainer who has many years of experience and has been recommended by neurologists.
The exercises he trains on improve dopamine and decrease symptoms, slowing the progression of Parkinson’s.
To learn more about the Parkinson’s training Jonathan does, see Jonathan’s offered services.