For many individuals around the world, the desire is present to begin exercising; however, despite best intentions, a workout routine can seem difficult to get started. Oftentimes, individuals want to be going to the gym every day, yet the reality is that it’s been months since they attended. After a long hiatus that can stretch into several years, it may seem daunting to begin going again. The following are 10 tricks to make exercise a habit. With this advice in hand, going to the gym can be a breeze and once you get started, it will be automatic.

10. Set the Bar Low

For those that struggle mightily to begin the journey of going to the gym regularly, setting the time commitment required to be a very low number is a proven strategy. Getting to the gym is the struggle and that notion can seem daunting at first. However, if the requirement is set at only 15 minutes of treadmill work, that can be viewed as more appealing and can help in actually getting people to the gym. Once already at the gym, it’s very easy to think that a further 15 minutes of free weight exercises are doable since you’re already there. If the amount of time expected to be there is ridiculously low and easy, it should get people to go. Even if you don’t end up staying longer, it’s quite possible to effectively have a brief 15-minute workout and it’s certainly better than nothing.

9. Treats and Rewards

An ancient topic of motivation, rewarding yourself with treats can have psychological benefits and will surely get you going to the gym. For example, drinking a glass of wine with dinner is healthy and rewarding. A good way to ensure attendance at the gym is to say that the glass of wine will only be available if the gym was attended. Alternatively, the reward can be allowing yourself an hour to play your latest video game. There are an indefinite amount of possible rewards to be used as motivation. Once the gym becomes a routine, it becomes far easier to continually go and this method can be ceased. However, it is very profitable during the early stages where going to the gym can be daunting and seen as a nuisance. Self-motivation is a great tool and the use of rewards is an intelligent way to treat a lack of motivation in going to the gym.

8. Change into Workout Clothes Prior to Leaving

If planning to go the gym directly after work is the idea, changing while still at work is an excellent starting point. Firstly, it will allow others to see that you are going to the gym and can strike a conversation point. If you don’t end up going, this can provide some guilt which you will likely try to avoid. Therefore, it is more likely that you will actually go the gym. Secondly, you’re making yourself more accountable. It’s clear you’d like to go the gym and are at least relatively interested in going. Once again, not going will provide some guilt and will likely increase your chances of actually going to the gym. Changing clothes is a commitment, one that may seem relatively trivial but can really help individuals who are attempting to get into the routine of exercise.

7. Podcasts and Audiobooks

Listening to music while at the gym is a long-running tradition and an excellent way to make the time fly by. A new development is the increased popularity and quality of podcasts. These audio files are likely already on your radar as a topic to explore. Unfortunately, the time commitment required with maintaining your favorite podcast is sometimes too great, as many podcasts have a duration longer than your daily commute. This problem can be solved at the gym, which now gives you an opportunity to listen to all your favorite podcasts while exercising. This is similar to killing two birds with one stone, as the exercise routine you need to be doing is accomplished while listening to podcasts that have landed in your backlog. On top of podcasts, audiobooks are also a great solution and can pass the time at the gym very quickly. By having a podcast or audiobook handy on your mobile device when going to the gym, attending the gym now seems less of a chore and in fact will become a pleasure.

6. Calendar Reminders

Setting alarms on a phone or marking a physical calendar with reminders to attend the gym is a very successful tool in getting to the gym. For those struggling in the early going of a gym routine, these reminders are an excellent motivational tool. By seeing a reminder to go to the gym, the motivation should be quite clear. You were motivated enough to make these reminders, therefore by not attending, a certain amount of guilt can creep up. By marking on the calendar whenever you went to the gym, it is very easy to physically see just how long it’s been since your last visit. Putting a hiatus from the gym in perspective is a surefire way to motivate yourself to return. Once that alarm begins to ring, there are few people who would simply disregard it without having some guilt about skipping their workout.

5. Sign Up

This may seem simple, but signing up for a gym is one of the best ways to begin going to the gym. While some people have access to a gym’s facilities at work or at school, actually signing up to a franchise gym is beneficial. Once monthly fees begin being deducted from a bank account, you will want to get your money’s worth. Having a gym at work or at school is incredibly convenient, but, once again, can be very easy for those struggling with starting a gym routine to attend. They are very easy to disregard. But there are few people in the world that will see the cost they are paying for a gym and continue to neglect going. Signing up to a gym proves commitment in beginning a gym routine and should help get people started in going to the gym.

4. Go in the Morning

We all live very busy lives and finding the time to go to the gym can appear daunting. Even though there are many short routines that need less than 30 minutes to complete, for many individuals, finding even that small block of time can prove challenging. A good counter is to begin waking up earlier and going to the gym in the morning. Going to the gym in the morning has several benefits. Firstly, hormones peak in the morning. In simple terms, humans have more energy in the morning. Secondly, the gym will be less crowded, making it easier to work out as well as less intimidating for beginners who are embarrassed with their lack of knowledge. And, finally, the time commitment previously mentioned. By waking up earlier, you are adding time for the gym rather than finding time in a busy life that may not be available.

3. Set a Goal

Going to the gym is much more palatable if a clear goal has been set. Whether that be a certain amount of weight loss, improving flexibility and balance, or reaching a certain percentage of body fat, these goals are the motivation that are needed to begin a workout routine. Wanting to lose weight is great; however, by setting an actual amount of weight desired to be lost, one can see the gains being made at the gym which will motivate the individual to continue going. Without a goal, best intentions are often neglected and there will be less incentive to go to the gym. One day’s workout won’t make any difference. It’s the accumulation of many days over a long period of time that is needed. With a reasonable goal in mind, a fitness regimen can be maintained and it is possible to stay properly motivated.

2. Don’t Break the Habit

A critical concept must be understood prior to venturing into the daily workout regimen you are ready to commit to. That concept is that it’s difficult to begin going to the gym for the first time, but it becomes second-nature once it is part of your everyday lifestyle. However, it is also very easy to skip a day, and one day can easily become a week. From there, it can extend indefinitely to the point that you are no longer going to the gym. Meaning that the next time you finally go, it will be just as difficult to get started as it initially was. With that understood, it’s important to remember not to break the habit of going to the gym. If you plan on going to the gym, understand that it is not time-consuming, can be very rewarding and will become much easier as time goes by. However, also understand that skipping a workout can be disastrous and is often not worth it. There needs to be an incredibly justifiable reason to skip a workout. If the reason is simple laziness or tiredness, just remember how difficult it will be to return to the flow of your routine if you begin skipping workouts. It is always beneficial to find time for the gym and attend even if you have a briefer workout than usual.

1. Go With Someone

Having a friend to go to the gym with is ideal for multiple reasons. Going with someone allows you to push yourself. Even though we are individuals with individual goals, going with someone can bring out the competitive nature that everyone has. More importantly, going to the gym with someone means you are relying on someone and that can help tremendously in getting to the gym. If you have made plans to go with someone to the gym, bailing and deciding not to go is much more difficult than bailing when you are going alone. The other person expects you to go and when you decide not to go, that lets them down. Many people have difficulty finding someone to go to the gym with regularly, so we recommendation finding someone at the gym that appears to be there regularly at the same time as you. Striking a conversation will eventually lead to shared workouts. This will have the same effect as going to the gym with a friend even if you don’t arrive at the same time.