How to Form a New Fitness Habit (According to Research)

Apr 26, 2023


Developing a fitness habit is not only about exercising regularly but also about making it a part of your daily routine. According to research, forming a habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, with the average being around 66 days. Here are some tips on how to form a fitness habit backed by research:

  1. Start small and build gradually

When starting a fitness routine, it is essential to start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Research has shown that starting with small, achievable goals can increase your chances of developing a lasting fitness habit. As you get comfortable with your routine, you can gradually increase the duration, frequency, and intensity of your workouts.

  1. Be consistent

Consistency is key when forming a fitness habit. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, performing a behavior consistently increases the likelihood of it becoming a habit. Set a regular schedule for your workouts and stick to it as much as possible. Even if you miss a day, get back on track as soon as possible.

  1. Find a workout partner

Working out with a partner or a group can increase your accountability and motivation. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that exercising with a partner significantly increased the duration and intensity of workouts. You can join a fitness class or find a workout partner to help you stay motivated and consistent.

  1. Set specific goals

Setting specific goals can help you stay focused and motivated. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, setting specific goals can increase motivation and help individuals achieve their desired outcomes. Set both short-term and long-term goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

  1. Track your progress

Tracking your progress can help you stay motivated and keep track of your accomplishments. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that self-monitoring, such as tracking workouts and diet, can improve health behaviors and outcomes. You can use a fitness app, a fitness tracker, or a simple journal to keep track of your progress.

  1. Reward yourself

Rewards can reinforce behavior and increase motivation. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, rewarding yourself for a behavior can increase the likelihood of it becoming a habit. Celebrate your accomplishments, whether it's reaching a fitness milestone or sticking to your routine for a certain amount of time. Reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a new workout outfit or a massage.

Forming a fitness habit takes time and effort, but it is achievable. Start small, be consistent, find a workout partner, set specific goals, track your progress, and reward yourself. These strategies backed by research can help you develop a lasting fitness habit and enjoy the many benefits of regular exercise.