Wow! We have been exercising for three weeks - well done! According to popular culture it takes 21 days to break or create a habit. Have we, created a new fitness habit?

By Square Box Fitness

If you have been systematically exercising at the same time,  under the same conditions over the last 3 weeks then, YES! You have started your habit in fitness – Congratulations!

The 21 days to a fitness success story.

The story we tell our self becomes our reality. Over time our brain’s electrical impulses cannot tell the difference between imagined or real thought processes.

Therefore, if over 21 days we can condition our brain to accept exercise as the new habit it will be easier to establish exercise in our life.

We have worked hard over the last 3 weeks not just on exercising but on creating at least some tangible time for exercise in our life.

We used marching on the spot for 3 minutes to pry open a tiny gap in our busy life for exercise.  We did this because we understand how difficult it is to hold on to time in modern living.

Using a structure such as a cup to hold water is so much more efficient than holding water cupped with bare hands – An analogy for structuring exercise into our day makes it possible to hold on to the time for exercise.

When exercising becomes routine.

If you have not been able to structure the time for exercise over the last three weeks do not be dishearten, you now know it is possible and can therefore make a start this week.

Having the structure in place for exercise makes exercise possible over impossible, and fitness becomes normal once the routine of exercise has been practiced for some time.

Studies examining habit formation show that it takes significantly longer than 21 days for the new habit to “feel normal” when exercise becomes routine is where fitness magic happens.

Once exercise forms part of a daily routine (even starting with only 3 minutes of marching on the spot), it becomes so much more powerful for the following reasons:

  • The rational brain is no longer responsible for motivating exercise.
  • The legitimacy of exercise is no longer questioned.
  • Emotional receptors that respond to rewards of exercise have grown in number and then drive the desire to exercise.
  • Exercise becomes automatic, like showering, brushing teeth, and changing into sleep wear for bed.

It is a nice thought that exercise will become an easy part of our life.  To understand why, it helps to think of an exercise routine as just a pattern of behaviour imbued with automaticity.

Automaticity is internal momentum that no longer needs, conscious fuel to keep going and is the logical outcome of learning something, like making exercise part of a daily routine.
We all have “ah-ha” moments when we learn something new or something comes together for us.

My exercise “ah- ha” moment was when I realised that exercise didn’t need to take hours and 30 minutes daily was enough to gain the health benefits I needed.

Have you had an “ah-ha” moment with exercise that you would like to share? Perhaps you have learned something in this challenge that was particularly memorable?

Share your challenge experience in the comment section below – we are now a team and we would love to hear your story!

Live well with fitness! Click here for week 4