healthy habits post itStaying consistent is an important key to cultivating healthy lifestyle habits. When practiced regularly, your new behaviors will quickly become habits that you do as automatically as you brush your teeth.

Set yourself up for success

For many people, watching a movie sets up the expectation that there will be popcorn or some other snack. To help make exercise a consistent habit you can set up a similarly associated expectation. Set up a routine that will reliably lead to exercise. Some suggestions include putting on your workout gear, setting up a playlist, making a smoothie and cuing up your favorite fitness DVD.  On Saturday mornings wake up and get a run in, then come home and enjoy the reward of a cup of coffee while you read the paper. With time exercise will become a regular part of your routine.

Make a date

Schedules aren’t just for meetings. They can also be helpful for keeping your fitness commitment. When you write it down, somehow it feels more official and harder to ignore.

Sign up for a race

When you train for a race, the looming race day can be a powerful motivator for being consistent. Be sure to give yourself enough lead time so that you can be well prepared to cross the finish line strong. Choose a training plan that is best for your fitness level and race goals. Follow the plan, which can last several weeks or even months depending on the race distance, and you will have the makings of a consistent running practice.

Get an exercise buddy

Sometimes it is easier a keep a promise to someone else than it is to keep one to yourself. You are more likely to show up at the gym or the park, even if you don’t feel like it, when you know your exercise buddy is waiting for you. Keep each other on track by setting, and regularly reviewing, fitness goals and accomplishments.

You know why you should exercise. Regular exercise improves health outcomes and gives you a feel good boost that carries over into all areas of your life. Now you just have to make it a habit. Look for ways to fit fitness into your schedule on a regular basis. If you skip a couple of days, or even a week, don’t let that be an excuse to abandon your fitness commitment. Simply begin again. You can start over as many times as you need to. Don’t give up. Your health is worth every effort.