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Working on Myself for Myself: Getting into the Habit of Exercising

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I used to be active.

When I was younger, I was actively involved with numerous sports teams through my school and with outside organizations. I could probably go so far as to say sports were my life for a few years (crazy, right?). But, as I got older, my participation in these physically demanding activities started to dwindle, and with that went my motivation to exercise.

I wasn’t the only one who lacked the inspiration to work out. Especially after high school, it felt like everyone around me stopped finding the time to go to the gym. For me, I had numerous excuses that made me feel better about my decision: “I’m too busy,” “A membership is too expensive,” and “I feel tired” filled my mind.

Truthfully, those thoughts were pretty accurate. Now that I was in college, my schedule was jampacked with assignments, work, and personal responsibilities. Still, I knew my lack of body movement and muscle exertion was something I needed to address.

Now what?

For my degree, I need to take three science classes; as a communication major, that is the last thing I wanted to do. So, there I went on the Rate My Professor deep dive (yes, the one we have all been guilty of) to find the best courses to take. That’s when I found the solution to my problems: kinesiology.

I registered for a 7:30 a.m. indoor cycling class -who knew there was something earlier than 8 a.m.’s? and began my journey to incorporate exercise into my weekly routine. My professor was passionate about working out and shared relatable stories about her experience with physical health. Over the semester, I developed an excitement for my early class. More importantly, I learned ways to spark joy from physical activity.

Outside of class, I began to test and develop workout regimens. I taught myself proper weightlifting form, studied how to target specific muscles, and practiced consistency. Eventually, I was looking forward to going to the gym three times a week, and I have continued to stay persistent.

Here’s the point: developing a habit of working out is not something that happens overnight. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of self-discipline, but it is so worth it.

Practicing fitness regularly has improved both my physical and mental health. Just getting in thirty minutes of cardio -walking included- or weight training makes my entire day feel productive and causes a 180-change in my mood (in a good way).

Fitness can be fun.

So, how did I do it besides being forced to take a science class? Here are a few steps I kept in mind that helped me build this habit:

  • Ease into it! Rushing into a good habit, especially exercise, can quickly feel exhausting and overwhelming. Make a small goal to practice the habit once a week without having unrealistic expectations for yourself.
  • Make it fun! Find a way to make thirty minutes of working out feel like anything but cardio. Whether that means playing the perfect songs for a hot girl walk, putting on an entertaining show to focus on, or zoning out for a brain break, there is something that can make the time fly by.
  • Take breaks! In my opinion, this is the most important step. While consistency is vital to building a habit, everyone has days or weeks when tasks can feel too demanding. Take a break if needed, but make sure it’s only temporary.

Above all, the best thing that worked for me was exercising for myself. It’s important to keep personal goals a priority when building a habit, not others’ opinions. Once I found the fun in pushing myself to keep up the habit, all the other positives fell into place.

It may sound like a challenge now, but with positive reinforcement and reasonable goals, it’s possible to fall in love with exercise like I did.

Howdy! My name is Sydnie Harrell, and I am a student at TAMU. I am a Communication major with a passion to work in public relations, marketing, and writing. In my free time, I love to journal, hang out with friends and family, and cook. I'm a big advocate for using personal experiences to connect with others, so if you like reading that kind of article, you're on the right page! Get in touch with me on social media, linked below.☺
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