7 Tips to Re-start the Exercise Habit and How to Keep it

We’ve all been there.  We say we’ll work out, but life gets in the way.  Work, errands, sick kids and the list goes on and on. 

So how do you re-start the exercise habit and make sure it sticks?

Here are 7 tips to help you get back on track:

1. Remember how you felt after you exercise.  

While most of us don’t love starting to exercise, we usually feel better after taking time to work out. Try to remember those feelings. Did you have more energy? Did you feel more positive or upbeat? Was it easier to do everything else in your day?

Whatever benefits you recall, try to focus on those. Remember the rewards you get from working out.

2. Find a friend or group for accountability.

Sometimes exercise is easier with others. This doesn’t even mean you have to work out together. Sometimes if we simply share our plans with others, it’s enough to make us want to follow through so we can keep our word.

And if you don’t have a friend for accountability in real life, come join us in our free Facebook group, The Healthy Mama Huddle!

3. Start small 

If you haven’t been working out for a while, don’t overdo it. We don’t have to work out for hours each day to see results. If you haven’t been active, try a 15-minute workout. You can always build on from there. Along these same lines, you don’t have to workout 7 days a week. If you haven’t been exercising, try setting a goal for 3 days a week. 

4. Reward yourself for showing up or hitting your goal.

Make it to your benefit to workout. You can reward yourself for following through with your plans or for reaching certain goals. Think of small things that would feel like a treat. What’s something you would really enjoy? What’s something that would feel like a celebration?

5. Create a ritual

Starting back up with exercise is going to feel hard at first because you’re out of a routine. So think of a habit you do on a regular basis such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You probably have a ritual around it, such as when you do this each day. This ritual can make it easier to form a habit. If you plan to workout in the morning, create a ritual or routine around getting ready to workout and what you do after your workout. Before you know it, working out will be a natural part of your daily routine.

6. Put it on the calendar! 

Our lives are busy. If we don’t make time to exercise, most likely it’s not going to happen. So if you want to work out 4 days a week, mark it on your calendar. If you want to work out for 30 minutes, block out 45 minutes on your calendar so you’re sure to have time. Make this appointment and then keep it, just as you would an appointment or meeting with anyone else.

7. Remember your WHY. 

If it’s time to work out and you just don’t feel like it, take time to return to your reason why. Why do you want to exercise? Why does this matter? Why is this important to you? When you can reconnect with this why, it can make it easier to show up and follow through, even on days when you don’t feel like it.


Most importantly, remember that exercise, like any form of self-care, needs to be done for you, not anyone else. If this doesn’t matter to you, it’s not going to happen. And if it doesn’t matter to you, it’s worth taking the time to make it happen.