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Developing a Fresh Schedule into a Custom

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Initiating new fitness rituals requires a beginning point.

If you’re embarking on a serious exercise journey or already following a set routine, transitioning to a new exercise schedule can feel disruptive. Like anything else, with consistent practice, it becomes almost instinctive, but it’s the phase before it becomes instinctive that can feel a bit uncomfortable.

While the common belief is that you need to motivate yourself to stick to your routine, that’s not entirely accurate. While motivation is beneficial when starting out, its importance diminishes as you aim to cement your routine into a custom. If you have to consciously remind yourself “It’s time to exercise now” each time you need to do it, you’re creating an opportunity to opt-out by saying “no, not today.” It’s only when exercising becomes a reflex, something you do automatically without conscious thought, that you’ve truly established a custom.

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In a recent conversation with Men’s Health, Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed the disparity between motivation and habits in his workout regimen. “What keeps me consistent is the fact that I never have to deliberate on this,” he mentioned. “It’s my routine, so it’s firmly ingrained in me. There’s no contemplation, no ‘should I skip the gym today?’ I rise at 5 AM, and it all flows. The following three hours are purely automatic.”

“Motivation plays a role, but routine is the foundation for consistency. The initial month of establishing a routine isn’t a walk in the park, so begin with simplicity. Perhaps kick off your mornings with some pushups and squats. Integrate something new into your routine each week, and eventually, you’ll dedicate an hour or two every morning that are entirely routine and geared towards self-improvement.”

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