Exercise Routines: How to Create & Maintain One

As discussed in the recent post about The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, exercise routines can be one of the most challenging things to adopt and maintain. Although the endorphins produced by exercise can be powerful reinforcers, for many the routine is simply not a top priority among life’s other responsibilities. In order to assist in making exercise a consistent part of your weekly schedule, we’ve got a few tips and tools.

Workout Routine Tips:

  • Scheduling: Instead of fitting in a workout whenever you have availability, decide on a specific time and days per week that you will commit to exercising. Add the workout to your calendar as if it were an appointment, and make sure that no other consistent obligations are going to interrupt.
  • Workout Cues: As recommended by Duhigg, creating a cue for exercise will help put you in the mood for the task. He recommends setting out your workout gear the night before a morning workout. This will help to remind you that exercise will be your first task of the day, not checking your email or picking up the house.
  • Accountability: For those who do not enjoy working out, any excuse will usually be enough to keep it from happening. Ensure you make it to scheduled workouts with an accountability trick. Some popular tricks include, working out with a more motivated friend so that you are not alone, signing up for a scheduled workout, such as a bootcamp, or tracking workouts and progress in a logbook. The last one may seem trivial, but science shows that logs provide a sense of accomplishment and encourage consistency.
  • Find Your Niche: Not all workouts are created equal. If you are new to exercising, I recommend trying out many different styles of workouts until you find something that you like. The more fun you have while working out, the more likely you are to continue. And remember, whether it’s running, yoga, or Zumba, the more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t worry if at first it’s very challenging.
  • Reward Yourself: An important part of making anything into a habit is the reward aspect. Create achievable goals for your exercise routine that are tied to non-food rewards. For example, for the first month, set a goal of working out at least 3 times per week for one hour per day. At the end of the month, reward yourself with a new piece of workout gear or clothing. The vital thing to remember is that goals should be reasonable, specific (where, when, what, how long), and measurable.


  • MapMyRun App: This GPS-enabled app allows you to track distance, routes, time, and the pace of your runs. Just like the accountability tip above, this tool will help you to see your progress and share it with friends. A great way to get a little extra encouragement is to allow the app to post your run details to Facebook. You’ll be surprised how much praise and support the posts will garner.
  • FitnessBuddy App: This is another exercise tool that provides hundreds of exercises and workouts for all fitness levels. It also has a workout journal for tracking what you did and when you did it.

No matter how you workout, just remember that the consistency is the key to maintaining the routine.

Good Luck!


Stuck in a Rut

As 2012 is in full swing, I’ve encountered many new clients who are ready to make the switch from disorganized to organized. I admire this choice, as it often takes great courage and resolve to change one’s lifestyle. A common theme I’ve noticed with people who believe they are disorganized is what I like to call stuck-in-a-rut syndrome. This syndrome usually takes the form of little items that need to be dealt with taking over large portions of our lives. The good news is that with a few simple actions, we can move beyond the small things that are keeping us from achieving our organizational goals.

I’ll give you an example of something that I see over and over again and have even experienced myself. You may be able to relate to the situation where you have many articles of clothing in need of mending, tailoring or dry cleaning but instead of taking them to be fixed, they begin to pile up on a piece of furniture in your bedroom, laundry room or spare room. The sight of this mess leads you to take a little less care in keeping that room organized and over time, more and more piles form of dirty clothes, mail, items to be donated, etc. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a disorganized rut. Sometimes, the mess begins to spread to the rest of your house – the sight of items in need of action becomes the norm.

Another example could be that you have a piece of furniture in a room of your home that needs to be repaired and is unusable until it is fixed. Slowly, you use the room less because it is no longer a comfortable place to spend time. It becomes a haven for all the other things in need of repair in your life. Sound familiar?

It is so easy for disorganization to creep into our lives, but implementing short and simple routines in your week for clothing and home maintenance can make a big difference in making sure your home remains your sanctuary.

For clients in this situation, I like to recommend a bi-weekly routine of errands, calls and actions. Pick a small amount of time on a day of your week or weekend that is conducive to completing a few tasks. For example, on Mondays, I like to stop by Starbucks on my way to a standing client appointment. There is a dry cleaner a few doors down, so I bring a few items every other Monday that need special cleaning attention and I pick up the items I’d dropped off the last Monday I was there. If you have a Saturday morning manicure routine, take your items that need tailoring with you and stop by on the way to your appointment. If Wednesday evenings are the nights your husband steps out with the guys, take a few moments of that precious time to research furniture repair businesses in your area and give them a call during lunch the following day. In other words, find the pockets of time in your week where you’ve already established routines and work in just one or two of these to-dos. A mini-alteration to your day like this can chip away at the piles, and slowly pull you out of the rut. Notice I’m not suggesting that you take a whole day of your weekend to take care of every single pile in every single room – that is not realistic, nor is it sustainable for a busy and aspiring well-organized person.

Small changes can afford lasting results. Think about what’s holding you in a rut and consider what small actions could start to pull you out. Let go of the rut by taking control of your time and your space in short but sweet bursts of time and routine. You’ll be surprised how the growing freedom you’ll feel will fuel more energy towards an organized day and lifestyle!

Good luck!

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