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9 Psychological Tricks to Develop a Fitness Habit

Rewards

In order to be effective, a reward needs to occur frequently and immediately after a workout. 

Plus, it needs to be associated with going to the gym – the reward doesn’t mean much if you can have it whenever you want.

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The real benefits

Working out at home is a tricky concept and can be harder to execute when the couch is right there in your view.

You can gain a lot from giving physical activity a real place of privilege in your schedule and devoting a good amount of time and attention to it. Apart from getting your blood pumping, the real benefits are creating time for your own interests and allowing yourself to check out mentally while focusing on simple tasks.

Home exercises can help

It's tough to build a lot of strength or otherwise make progress without the incremental weights you find at a gym, but a few inexpensive home tools and specific movements can go a long way.

It is important to ensure that you prioritize compound movements that work muscle systems, not individual muscles. You'll get a lot more done in less time if you focus on bigger movements - squat, bench, deadlift, row, overhead press.

Lower and upper body movements

Goblet squats and squat jumps are great for your lower body when you only have dumbbells. You could also try lunge variations, split squats, step-ups, and deadlift variations.

For your upper body, you could do some chest presses, pushups, row variations, curls, tricep extensions or pullups (if you have a pullup bar installed in a doorway.)

Struggling To Build Healthy Habits
  • We tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly.
  • We’re conditioned these days to expect and receive instant gratification.
  • We expect to get in shape very quickly, not remembering that it took us decades of unhealthy living to get where we are.
  • We miss a workout because life gets busy.
Your “Big Why”

As you’re determining the habits or resolutions you’re trying to set, make the habit part of a bigger cause that’s worth the struggle.

You’re not just going to the gym, you’re building a new body that you’re not ashamed of so you can start dating again.

Healthy Habit Building 101

There are 3 parts to a good or bad habit: Cue (what triggers the action), Routine (the action itself), Reward (the positive result because of the action).

You have trained your brain to take a cue (you see a doughnut), anticipate a reward (a sugar high), and make the behavior automatic (nom that donut). 

Compare that to a cue (you see your running shoes), anticipate a reward (a runner’s high), and make the behavior automatic (go for a run!).

The 2 ways you can approach your habits: Progressive and Consistent
  • Progressive. You start off easy, make it a little bit harder each time, until you eventually do very difficult things, with a lot less effort.
  • Consistent. Do the same thing, with the same expectations, each time. You don’t aim for growth, but maintaining the same, solid baseline.
Progressive habits are about managing growth, while consistent habits  are  are about managing decline. Progressive habits are less st...
Progressive habits are about managing growth, while consistent habits  are  are about managing decline. Progressive habits are less stable, but offer higher growth. Consistent habits offer lower growth, but are more stable.
When you set up a progressive habit, you’re on a path to improvement

Small, incremental adjustments in difficulty are almost certain to push your level up. The downside with progressive habits is that they are harder to sustain.