How To Start A Fitness Journey (and stick to it)

I’m not the skinniest or fittest person you’ll ever meet. What I am, though, is strong and faithful to my workout routine. I don’t get crazy results in 7 days. My before and after photos have months of hard work in between. If you’re looking for a tried and true way to not only just lose weight but actually make it a part of your lifestyle, put these 4 steps into action.

How do you stick to a workout routine?

I learned some pretty amazing things from Atomic Habits by James Clear. I learned how to create good habits and get rid of bad ones. Honestly, my quality of life has improved since implementing these things. I credit my current faithful workout habits to this book! The main principles of creating good habits are:

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

Let’s dive deeper and apply it to your new fitness journey!

Step 1: Make it obvious

person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

How do you make working out obvious? This step requires you to look at your current habits, be specific about your new workout habits you want to create, use ‘habit stacking’ to hold yourself accountable, and creating the perfect environment for your new routine.

  • Make a list of your current habits. Do you always have coffee in the morning? Shower right before bed? Watch Netflix before dinner? This will help you visualize all of the things you already habitually do.
  • Instead of just ‘wanting to lose weight’, think about how you’ll do it. What will be your process? Be specific. “I will jog 1 block in my neighborhood at 4:00PM on Mondays.” or “I will do 30 pushups and 30 jumping jacks in my living room at 8AM every weekday.”
  • Stack your new workout routine on top of a habit you already do (like the one you listed in step 1). “I will jog 1 block in my neighborhood at 5:30PM after I log off for work.” or “I will do 30 pushups and 30 jumping jacks before feeding the dog.”
  • Create a space to work out. Using your living room? Designate an area where you’ll workout and make it obvious. Leave your dumbbells out or yoga mat, etc. Leave bottles of water on your counter. Put your workout clothes on the dresser before you go to bed.

Get creative with ways to make your new workout journey obvious.

Step 2: Make it attractive

Yes, attractive! You can make working out attractive like your favorite celebrity crush.

  • Pair your workout routine with something you already really want to do. For me, it’s drinking wine. If I want a glass, or any alcohol, I have to have worked out already. Maybe for you it’s playing video games or scrolling on social media. Just tell yourself, before you do X you have to workout. Then it’s like your reward!
  • Surround yourself around people who want to workout like you. Don’t go following a bunch of super fit gurus who will just intimidate you. Are you a mom? Work full time? Have back issues? Find that group of people who believe in the same fitness journey that you believe in. Surround yourself around people who believe working out is a normal habit.
  • Do something you love right before you workout. This creates a happy cue/reward response in your brain, and you’ll start associating working out with the thing you love. Go to Target then work out. Listen to your favorite song then work out. Talk to your bestie then work out.

Play around with different ways to make working out attractive. There’s no wrong answer and it can always change later!

Step 3: Make it easy

blue and black nike athletic shoes

This step is pretty crucial. It’s probably why so many of you have just given up on your fitness journey; too many obstacles. Let’s get rid of them.

  • Don’t workout at a gym that’s out of the way. Pick a place on the way to or from work. If you’re going to workout at home, pick a place that’s easy to get to and doesn’t require much maintenance. For example, don’t pick a room that you’ll constantly have to clean before you even work out. Try not to work out in your bedroom; your bedroom is for sleeping and relaxation.
  • Make the area you’ll work out in feel good to you. Maybe some motivational posters or sticky notes with your fave quotes on the wall. Buy you some new and cute work out clothes that make you feel good.
  • Start off very small. VERY small, like 2 minutes. Dedicate only 2 minutes each day to fitness until that becomes cake. The point is to build the habit of doing it. Start off by just getting dressed in your workout clothes every day. Once that’s a habit, add on a quick 2 minutes workout. Keep increasing from there.

The point is to not overwhelm yourself. Making small changes every day will have an insanely positive impact in the long run.

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Step 4: Make it Satisfying

Ahhh yes, good ol’ rewards. They’re actually an important part of making sure you get your ass up every day.

  • Reward yourself immediately after you work out or do something related to your fitness journey. For me, it’s taking the satisfying sweaty selfies and sharing my workout with everyone. Or a glass of wine. Figure out ways to immediately reward yourself after every workout.
  • Keep track of your workouts and try not to ‘break the chain’. On Peloton, we get blue dots on the days we workout on the calendar. I LOVE when my calendar is filled with blue dots. Try printing out a calendar and color the days that you workout. Aim for solid stripes!
  • Making a mistake is forgivable, but never twice. If you forget to workout, drop everything and do it as soon as you remember! Never miss twice.

I love rewarding myself for putting in the work! I don’t see working out as a ‘task’, it’s something I look forward to each day.

Now go forth and conquer

You’ve got the skills and tricks to create the best workout habit on the planet. Really put these tips to practice and allow yourself the time to do so. Be patient. As long as you’re rewarding yourself and applying these other principles, you’ll get immediate satisfaction without needing to have lost 20 pounds in 5 days. There is a method to the madness; trust in it!

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