Even though we read about the importance of exercising regularly, listened to thousands of podcasts, and watched hundreds of videos, we still fail to commit to our workout routines.
We are aware of the negative impact of not working out has on our overall health; we also know about its multiple benefits, and still, we see ourselves quitting and starting over and over again.
So, what’s missing? Why can’t we commit to exercising?
In this episode, Ted reveals why we struggle with creating a serious commitment to exercise, plus 5 simple steps to develop the habit of exercising. He reveals how we can become unstoppable by adding exercise in our busy routine.
He also explains how it can change our relationship with ourselves and others, and how it changes how we see the world.
Plus, he shares some bonus tips to strengthen our exercising habits, the Heaven and the Hell exercise, the 5 Whys exercise, and much more. Listen now!
- The main reason why we aren’t consistent with exercising
- About the importance of having a strong WHY
- What we can discover from the Heaven and Hell exercise and how we can use it in our favor
- What is the 5 Whys exercise, and how it can help us
- The importance of starting small and adding bit by bit to avoid feeling overwhelmed by our training routines
- What is the “Never Miss Twice” rule, and how we can use it to help us build consistency
- And much more…
Book: Simon Sinek – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Podcast Transcription: 511: Become Unstoppable: How to Make Exercise An Unbreakable Habit
Ted Ryce: You know exercising is important to you, you know it’s good for your health, but why can’t you be consistent with it? And the simple answer is, you haven’t learned how to create a habit of exercise. You brush your teeth in the morning, you take a shower every day, hopefully. But with exercise, you just fall off, even though you’re doing so many other things consistently.
So in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about: “How to Create an Exercise Habit in Five Easy Steps.” What is up, my friend? Welcome back to the show. I’m your host, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other high-performers. And let’s dive right in. It’s fascinating. Well, first, I want to share this with you.
We recently did our 7 Day Challenge. Were you a part of it? I hope you were. If not, make sure you’re there next time, because not only did we have a lot of fun, but people got great results. In fact, a couple of the people who went through the 7 Day Challenge…It was kind of small, since it was the first time that we’ve done it again, since 2020. Few of the people became clients, because the results were so impressive to them.
They had so many moments, so many aha moments. And then, of course, there are the people who just did the program and didn’t become clients—very happy for those people who went through the process. But the most interesting people are the people who started but couldn’t finish. And that’s what I want to tell you.
If you’re in that position now, there’s some major issues, if you’re like, “Okay, yeah, I’m going to do this free challenge,” and you’re looking for things, you’re actively looking for things to help you get over the hump of taking action with your health and fitness and making a change, you’re going to want to listen to this episode.
And the first thing I would tell people, and this is what we do, not only with our clients, but with people in the challenge as well. We, number one, start with a strong reason why. Yeah, you’ve got to find your why. Yep, Simon Sinek wrote a book on it. Start with Why. But here’s the thing. This is what we know. And there’s actually some research that I can’t quote, I don’t remember. So apologies.
And I just want to speak off the cuff here from actually helping people with this, instead of trying to nerd out, which I do enjoy doing on the research and quoting research studies. But what we found is that when people: “Just want to become a little healthier, I just want to lose a few pounds.”
They’re disconnected from the strong reason why they want to, in this case, start an exercise habit. Why do you want to do it? “Well, I know it’s good for me.” Yeah. Okay, so what a lot of things are good for us, but we don’t do them, we’re not motivated to do them. We need to ask the deeper question, why is this really important to us?
And what we do in the coaching program, is we have people write what we call the Heaven and Hell exercise. And when they do the Heaven and Hell exercise, they talk about the hell, they talk about, if I don’t create this exercise habit, what are the consequences is going to be? So we project into the future and say, okay, if this doesn’t change, what’s going to happen?
And sometimes we’re not clear about the answer. But when we stop to focus on it, like what is going to happen? Well, I’m going to lose muscle mass. Which is going to do what? Well, I’m not going to be able to do the things that I want to do like playing with my grandkids, like traveling the world, like playing tennis three times a week that I thought I’d do in retirement.
You’ve got to get clear, what’s that going to do? If you can’t do that? Well, it’s going to make –I’m not going to be happy. I’ve worked my whole life so I could retire and have this lifestyle, and I can’t even live the lifestyle that was getting me to the point where… I mean, live that the dream of living this retirement lifestyle, that’s what was getting me through going to work every week, and now I can’t even live it.
So do you see how that can be a bit strong? I’m just making that up, because I don’t have a problem exercising. I’ve got other things that I’m working on. Where I’m trying to develop a habit. And then we talk about the heaven. What if you were to exercise, how would this affect you? Well, I might lose a couple pounds because I’m too sedentary. I would feel better because I’m taking care of my body.
And I know it’s important. I always feel better after I exercise. And those would be, okay, so why do you want to feel better? Oh, when I feel better, my life is better, I treat my children better. I’m more present with my children. I’m more present with my wife or my husband or my girlfriend or my boyfriend, whatever the case may be. And why is that important? Well, I feel like I’m happier.
And so you have to ask yourself, why is the reason that you want to start this exercise habit? Why is it a must-do for you? You have to answer that question. And you can do that Heaven and Hell exercise. You can also do the Five Why’s, where you just ask yourself five why’s five times? Why do you want to start an exercise habit? Well, I know it’s important for my health. Why is your health important for you?
Well, if I don’t take care of my health, I’ve seen my father go down the drain with his health, and I’m going to keep this personal for me, my answers. So I’ve seen my father gave up exercise, and I saw it happen to him. The worst thing that could ever happen to him is to be dependent on others. And that’s exactly what— his worst fears came true, because he wasn’t able to do things for himself.
And it’s like, well, why is that important for you? Well, besides the obvious, I don’t want to be an unhappy person. And I know exercise is important for that. And it’s like, well, why is being that type of person important for you? It’s because well, if I’m honest about it, I have a certain standard of life, I fight depression. Sometimes when I think about, you know, I have that tendency to feel a little sad about some of the things that have happened in my life.
I’m not going to go into that, if you don’t know my story. But it for those of you who know, you’re like, “Well, yeah, of course, I would be feeling this a way.” And so I don’t want to get sucked into that black hole of depression. I don’t want to get sucked into that negative headspace. Because yeah, maybe I won’t commit suicide or do anything like that. But I’ll tell you, I’ll wake up from the fog of that depression, and feel like I wasted my life.
And I’ve already had those periods. So those are examples of how I get really clear on why it’s important for me to exercise. So how is it resonating with you? Or what is resonating with you? Are you clear about all the reasons, the Heaven and the Hell, or ask yourself the five why’s, just Google Five Why’s Exercise or Root Cause Analysis, and do that exercise so you can be more clear.
And the second thing is awareness of the problem. Here’s what I mean by that. Too many people try to do the best exercise routine. They’re like, what is the perfect exercise? I really want to get in shape and get massive results quickly. And so what is the workout? What does that look like? And let’s say someone tells it to you or sells you a program.
And then you do it, and you do it for a week or maybe a month, and then you can’t do it anymore, because it may have been optimal on paper, but for your life, you couldn’t keep it up. It was too much too soon. Not sustainable. And so by awareness of the problem, I mean, you have to understand that you have a habit issue, a consistency issue.
If you don’t fix the consistency issue, you have no business doing anything else, “Oh, this optimal program, oh…” You have no business doing that. That is part of your problem. And that is why you’re failing to create that exercise habit.
In fact, I will give you an example from a client. So I’m working with Paul. Paul is a bit of an entrepreneur. Paul was struggling with some stress issues, and we worked through them together. Great, except he came back to his workout because he hadn’t been working out; some things in his business and life were kind of taking over, and then he went on vacation. So he came back from all that and then tried to do the workout that we had developed for him previously. And he wasn’t doing it.
And as we had a conversation about it, he was, you know, I appreciate my clients. They’re like, “Oh, man, I’m just being lazy. I just need to do it.” And I’m saying “Look, you know what, saying that you’re being lazy is a lazy…The only thing that you’re being lazy about is trying to analyze this problem.” For me, I’m not sure that it’s just a matter of hey, go and do it. A little David Goggins motivational talk, and then you’re going to go do it.
What I asked is, “What is the problem with the workout?” He’s like, “Oh, man, it’s really long, and it’s got all these sets and it’s just, when I see it, I have a lot of issues. I have a lot of resistance, tackling it, going and doing it.” And so the type of coach I would used to be, I would just be like, “Just go do it, bro. Tick the boxes, bro. Do what you need to do, bro.” But I don’t do that anymore because that’s shitty coaching.
So instead, what I did was, “Look, Paul, here’s the issue. You were in the habit of exercising, you got out of the habit of exercising, and now you’re trying to do what you did previously, when you’re in the habit of exercising, and it’s not working for you. So let’s look at the workout. Let’s whittle it down to where it’s so easy, you can’t say no. So easy, you can’t say no. And that brings us to our third step, which is start with a small habit.
If someone is out of the habit of exercise, we need to start with a small habit to make it easy to start to habit. It is all about the habit, people. If you’re out of the habit, it’s about creating the habit. And to create a habit, you’ve got to start and make it easy.
So what we did, we took Paul’s workout and we brought it down to bare minimum. So we went from doing an hour workout to something maybe it’s about a 20 or 30 minute workout now. And guess what? He’s been more consistent. He’s been hitting it consistently.
And how do I know that? Because we track people’s check-ins with their workouts in the app. And that’s an example of how we start with a small habit. I brought it down, I’m like, okay, is this what it needs to be? Is this what it should be right now? Not for you to get the best results ever, but for us to create a habit, because if we can create a small habit, then we can build on that.
In fact, I’m looking at his week last week. He worked out four times, since we created this workout, and then played tennis twice. The previous week, he only worked out once. And the previous week, he only worked out once. The previous week before that, only worked out twice. So now boom, do you see how that’s results-oriented? And I want to keep this as almost a bonus point here, is, stay results-driven?
When you’re like, hey, just did the workout, bro. Okay, how many times did you do it? Oh, I did it once. And if that’s a repeating pattern, you’ve got to bring it down to where it’s just, you can’t say no to it. For example, it’s like, well, do one set of bodyweight squats today. And then tomorrow, do one set of push ups, and keep that up every day. That would be an example. Or go take a walk in the morning or after a meal for 20 minutes every day, or three times a week, whatever it is.
And another bonus tip I would tell you is if you can make it more frequent, something small, but something you can do frequently like walking every day, take a 10 minute walk every day, the frequency helps, in my opinion—in my experience, I should say—lock in the habit. So those are two bonus tips there. But the frequency helps lock in the habit. I’d rather someone do five workouts or six workouts just doing one set a day, than have them do two hour workouts or two 30-minute workouts or something like that.
I’d like people doing more frequency, because the frequency, I’ve seen what happens with people when they do that. And they just get into the habit of exercising, and it’s really easy. And that brings us to the next easy way, is increase slowly. So for example, if we take that workout that I just said, bodyweight squats today, push ups tomorrow and just alternate that every day for six days.
And then take one day off, what we could do is, well, add two sets of push ups and two sets of bodyweight squats. That’s going to take 10 minutes every day, right? Not even 10 minutes every day. So increase slowly. And what I love about this, by the way, is when I start…It’s so counterintuitive. If you start with a big…Here’s something else. This is another bonus tip. I wish I would have written these down, so it would have been more structured, but you’re going to have to just go back and listen to it again if it helps.
Here’s what I asked people when they sign up to my coaching. I asked them this, “Hey, how many times do you want to work out?” Oh, I want to work out six days a week. Okay, cool. How confident are you that you’re going to work out six days a week on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being the least amount of confidence, 10 being supremely confident.”
They say, “Probably seven and a half.” I go, “Okay, so let’s drop off a day. How about five?” They’re like, “Well, I’m probably a nine when it comes to five days a week because that’s Monday through Friday. I like to go to the gym on work days. It’s just on the weekends where I have a tough time.”
And I say, “Okay, that’s what we’re doing.” But then they may argue and say, “You know what, but I’d like to try six,” and I say this, “Let’s say I write six workouts for you. And let’s say you don’t do that six workout because it’s the weekend, how are you going to feel if you miss that six workout?” And 98% of the time, my clients will answer, “Oh, yeah, I feel like a loser,” or words to that effect.
Then I say, “Why are we going to go out of our way to make you feel like a loser, because you know that you’re going to miss that sixth day? And what is that feeling like loser going to do for you and do to your motivation?” And they inevitably say, “Oh, it’s demotivating.” And so what I tell them is this: I want to start small, and I want to increase slowly, because you’re going to feel like a winner when you hit those workouts.
And if we continue to have you feeling like a winner, we can build on that. I say slowly, but really, we can build on it every week. So it seems slow, initially, but you bump it up quickly, because it’s like, “Man, I did work out 10 minutes, so I want to do more.” People want to do more. That’s why you have to start with a small habit and increase slowly.
But it’s the mental game, folks, that’s the game that you need to win. And people lose this game all the time, especially high-achievers, because they’re like, “I don’t want to do a 10 minute workout. That’s a waste of time.” It’s like, when you’re thinking about results, it’s not going to turn you into a cover model of men’s health or Shape Magazine.
But that’s not the goal right now. The goal is to help you develop this habit. And if we develop the habit and you become consistent with it, it’s easy to build. And before you know it, yeah, okay, it takes a few weeks, but weeks fly by quick. And once they do, and we increase slowly, you are crushing it. Do you see how that works? And the fifth way to build a habit of exercise is to get back on track when you slip up.
And the rule I have for this is never miss twice, never miss twice. You have to hold yourself to this standard site. If you skip a workout get back on. Oh, I was going to do 10 minutes, six days a week where I do push ups, two sets, then squats, two sets the next day and just alternate that for six days, and I skip my push ups. It’s like well, then you need to not skip them again. You never miss twice. Don’t let yourself Miss twice. Get back on track fast when you slip up.
Now, of course some—and this is under normal circumstances—sometimes you might have an issue, like you’re on vacation and something happened or whatever it is. But in normal circumstances, you should never miss twice, you should never miss twice. That’s a sign you need coaching. And for those of you who are really challenged, maybe even a psychologist, and someone good.
But this is a sign that you need coaching. If you, under the best of circumstances, and when I mean that, I mean normal life, not, “Oh, it’s busy, because it’s the summer and the kids are doing…” No, that’s not an excuse, right? And if you’re struggling with this, you need coaching, I’m telling you, you need coaching. You need accountability. You need someone to craft a routine for you, something where you can’t say no to.
And when you do that, you will get the results that you haven’t been achieving. Now, that may sound a bit self-serving. But I will tell you, I only do body transformations. I don’t coach people just on workouts, so something to consider. So how to build a habit. Let’s recap here.
Number one, strong reason why. You’ve got to be clear why this is so important to you. I really believe that’s important. Two, awareness of the problem. And the problem is, you don’t have a habit, you have a consistency issue. We need to solve the consistency issue before we worry about like, “Oh well, is this the best exercise for my upper pecs or my biceps?” Or, “will this make my butt nice and solid?”
First, create consistency. Third, start with a small habit. Even if it isn’t ideal, even if it sounds like a joke. Start with a small habit. Then you start winning because it’s easy to do. You don’t need that much motivation to do it. And then four is you increase slowly over time. And then five, you get back on track when you slip up, and use the never miss twice rule. You slip up once, okay, back on track.
And that, my friends, is how you build a habit in five easy steps. Now, I should call it simple steps. I didn’t say it was going to—actually, I did say it was going to be easy. So I kind of messed up there. But what I meant is five simple steps. And you can make this happen. And if you overcomplicate things, do…This is what I do with my clients and it works. It works for the busiest of clients, and you can make this work for you, too. That’s what I want to leave you with. Hope you enjoyed this episode, and speak to you soon.
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