Written by Jennifer Van Barneveld-Pe, President of STRONG Fitness Magazine
Photography by Paul Buceta
Hair & Makeup by 
Monica Kalra

From the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night, you operate out of habit. That doesn’t mean you’re acting mindlessly but it does mean you’ve already created many go-to routines that have become engrained in your daily life. And that’s excellent news because you can tap into the power of those existing routines to help you move closer towards your goals every day! 

The Magic of Routine

Routines happen so automatically that you might not even think about them as “routines”. For example, maybe you take a vitamin at breakfast, make your bed as soon as you get up, or grab a workout on the way home from work. These are all entrenched habits that we do, almost on autopilot. So, how can you make your fitness habits a nearly-rehearsed routine? Let’s explore my 6-steps to forming daily habits—habits that become so natural you don’t even need to think about them.

“As many as 45% of the things you do
each day are done out of habit, without
you even giving much thought to it.”

Step 1:
What’s Your Ultimate Goal?

Set SMART goals before you try to create a habit. It’s essential to determine what you’re going after. Your goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T).

Step 2:
WHY Do You Want to Achieve This Goal?

Take some time to really contemplate why this goal matters to you. What’s so important about it? What does achieving it mean to you? How will you feel when you achieve it? And finally, how will it change your life? Write it down.

Step 3:
Choose ONE New Habit to Help You Achieve Your Ultimate Goal

Depending on your goal, you might come up with a huge list of “to do’s” to make your goal a reality. But, avoid the overwhelm… Right now, just focus on one actionable thing you can do. And then turn that into a new habit! 

Step 4:
How Can You Make Your New Habit as EASY as Possible?

This step is all about setting yourself up for sure success, by creating an environment that supports your new habit. Ex: Your goal is to not miss a workout over the next 90 days. Your success step could be to lay out your workout clothes and have your runners by the front door, so you can quickly gear up and get out for your sweat sesh.

Step 5:
Be Prepared for Slip Ups

This is a big one. In fact, after getting started, it’s the most important step towards achieving your goals. You must have a plan ahead of time for exactly how you’ll get back on track after a hiccup in your plan. Because, life happens. I say this all the time: “Correct and continue.” The idea behind this? Don’t beat yourself up over small errors. Your path will be filled with ups and downs—it’s how you cope with those that is the biggest difference maker.

Step 6:
Reward Yourself!

Beyond the actual reward of achieving your goal, and how great that will feel, how will you celebrate your accomplishment? Adding a fun element like a reward for small steps along the way can make the process that much more enjoyable. Will you get a new outfit? Or maybe a spa day? Choose something you value and that carries a sense of celebration for you.

Now, get after it!

STRONG Fitness
STRONG Fitness Magazine is a trusted source of cutting-edge fitness and health information for the modern woman who lives to be fit. STRONG’s sophisticated editorial voice combined with raw, powerful imagery and a modern, athletic design reflect the direction fitness has taken in the last decade.