Do you find it hard to find time to workout while trying to take care of everybody else?

There are many ways to make time.  Let’s explore a simple method to help you get moving more and back into those jeans you were wearing pre baby!

When building a workout into a hectic lifestyle like yours, one of the easiest ways to do it is to stack it along with other habits you already do.  

This is a bit hard, because your habits live inside routines that you perform throughout the day.  And, most of your routines are automatic, this benefits you because it makes them easier to get through in the future with less effort.  Each routine starts with some sort of cue, then your subconscious brain takes over helping you make way through it.  Knowing this we can hack your nervous system to make your new exercise routine more automatic!

How To Build New Exercise Habits

To be successful at adding in exercise throughout the day, you will first want to find a routine that you can break down and then stack your exercise habit in it with the other habits that are already there.

Let’s look at an example routine:

Morning routine – 

5:30 am wake up – turn off alarm (alarm is the cue to begin routine)

  1. Go to bathroom
  2. Use toilet
  3. Brush teeth
  4. Start Shower – mini routine
  5. Dry off
  6. Exit bathroom (this is the close of the routine)

You can see that there are several habits ingrained within this routine.  This is what makes habit stacking easy which is a method I learned from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.  All you have to do is pick a habit you perform and then put the exercises either before, in between, or after it.

But, there is an issue that you need to be aware of:

Your brain will fight you all the way.  

How Is A Habit Formed?

Your nervous system uses routines and habits so you can scoot throught your day without having to expend too much energy thinking about what to do.  

Anything that costs extra energy your brain will work against you.  You can work around your brain by sneaking in new habits within routines that you already have.

In order for you to work around your brain fighting you and stacking a new habit into your routine you will need to follow a basic habit loop.

The habit loop is combined of 4 steps:

  1. Cue (trigger)
  2. Craving (predictive reward)
  3. Response (action)
  4. Reward (dopamine)

To take advantage of the habit loop you will need to:

  1. Trigger yourself to begin the exercises with some sort of cue.  
  2. Perform the exercises.  
  3. Acknowledge the completion of your exercises to close the loop.  

Once you complete the loop you will be rewarded with a shot of dopamine.  Your brain will associate the dopamine boost with the cue, giving you the craving you need to begin your exercise habit next time.  As you repeat this over and over, eventually it will become more automatic to perform your exercise regimen.

How To Start A New Exercise Habit 

Here’s the steps to get started:

  1. Find a routine you already do – Morning, Noontime, Evening…
  2. Break it down into the different habits that compose it
  3. Stack your new exercise habit before or after another habit
    • Find a trigger
    • Do your routine
    • Acknowledge the routine
  4. Get your dopamine shot

It may take a bit of self-discipline to get going, because once you see your cue, you have to make the decision to begin your exercise.  But, after a while of doing it, you will end up on autopilot like the rest of your routines.

Share with others below how you inject exercise into your daily routines!