Are you having a hard time making regular exercise a habit? By focusing on the benefits to YOU, it may make it easier for you to want to. Finding selfish reasons to workout (or do anything we really want) increases the likelihood we’ll do it consistently.
There is an actual process to change, and it starts with Knowing Your Why. Check out this list of selfish reasons and see if any of them resonate with you.
10 Selfish reasons to workout
- Exercise improves your cognitive function so you’ll feel more alert and focused. Might this help you in your career or in school?
- Exercise improves your confidence. Could you use more swagger?
- Exercise helps you to look better. If you love dressing up then you know you can pull off any look better when you’re at a healthy weight and have body positivity. Exercise gives you oodles of both.
- Exercise increases your libido. Studies show that women who exercise regularly are more easily aroused, have more intense orgasms and greater flexibility and endurance (in bed).
- Your hot body will attract more partners. Your looks, specifically a toned body, will get you more attention from men (and women).
- Exercise teaches you life skills. Skills like goal setting and self-discipline that you build from working out can be leveraged in the pursuit of even bigger life goals.
- Exercise helps you heal faster because it boosts your immune system, increases circulation, reduces inflammation and kicks stress’ butt. It’s also great for chronic health conditions such as asthma, constipation, thyroid, and digestive illnesses.
- Exercise will help you age better and live longer. Scientists studying what is termed “successful aging” have proven that people who exercise experience less debility as they age. People who exercise regularly also have minimal chronic diseases and less cognitive decline as they age.
- Exercise is natural-Prozac. Exercise releases feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. In a study conducted by British economist George MacKerron with over 50,000 volunteers, they found that exercise makes people very happy. In fact, get this–only sex makes people happier.
- Exercise increases productivity. The number one excuse people give for not exercising is that they don’t have time, but getting in a good workout gives you energy, i.e. more time. In fact, it’s been estimated that exercising makes us at least 2x more productive.
Now that you have some good reasons to contemplate, here are some ideas to help you make exercising a more consistent habit.
Look for compelling benefits
As compelling a reason as “do-it-for-your-health” might be, if you’re not terribly concerned about your health, that won’t move you. But if being hot or having rock-solid confidence are important to you, by all means, let those be your motivation. And keep refocusing on these reasons.
Work out your resistance
It’s natural to resist change while on the other hand, want the benefits. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do whatever we want and there be no repercussions? Unfortunately for you and me, life doesn’t work that way. What’s helpful to note here is that we have two sides to ourselves and when it comes to making a change, they don’t always agree. One side is future-oriented and practical, the other is a toddler. The toddler resists and you have to be the adult who tricks, coaxes and encourages her to do what’s best for both of you. Think of it as parenting yourself.
Identify and solve the real conflict
You’ve narrowed down your reasons to workout and you’re all-in mentally, but if something else that’s a constant issue in your life isn’t resolved, you’ll continue to fail. A common reason people give for not exercising is being too tired. Ask yourself why. Do you work long hours? Do you have poor sleep hygiene? Are medications or a thyroid problem making you tired? Is the reason you’re “tired” more of a psychological thing—you’re lonely and silently frustrated, perhaps? Look critically at your life and choices to identify what’s underneath your excuses. Next, creatively solve it. If you’re working long hours, create a plan to work less that will minimize your loss of income.
Find the best time and conditions for you to exercise
We know that people who exercise in the mornings are more likely to stick to it because our motivation is at its peak in the morning. Other factors may affect your desire to exercise. For me, I find it virtually impossible to exercise in the gym without music, so I spend a lot of time (and have a lot of fun) creating playlists. I also like to work out with other people so I love classes and arrange local hiking events. Convenience is also another factor that affects my exercise game. That gym, tennis court, or sports field needs to be within 5 minutes of me if I’m to work out regularly.
Do a variety of exercises
The gym is my constant but when the weather is nice, there are several other workouts that I like to do (thankfully!). I think we all need that variety, otherwise, exercise can get boring and feel uninspiring. Think about a few sports and activities you actually like and work them into your exercise game plan.
Multitask your exercise
You may not be a big exercise-buff, but I bet there is something you like doing. If you like biking, run errands using your bike and find ways to get on it almost every day. If you need to be more social anyway, look for pickup games in your neighborhood or form a sports team. There are a few ways I multitask on the treadmill. For a while, I cut out TV at home and limited it to the gym. I also use my “morning walk” on the treadmill to plan articles, work out business ideas, read and respond to emails.
If you’re working to make exercise a more consistent habit, keep at it. There are many factors—convenience, time, enthusiasm and having the energy to want to—that affect our desire to do it. One by one, work out what it’s going to take for you to form the habit.
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. She believes the way we live predicts our future health and motivation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about working with Christine.