Habitualising Movement


To become a coach in the exercise industry, usually we are pretty passionate about what we do. 

To exercise or "move" regularly (daily) isn't something that we think about. For me, this has been the case for my whole life.

However for many, the story is different. If you are getting back into it, then movement is not yet habitualised.

There is a huge upside to habitualising your training (or quality food...) They trickle over into other areas of your life because they are such an integral part of who we are as humans.

Once it is habit, movement comes easily. We welcome it each day, just like waking up, or going to sleep. It's then no longer a task or chore.

So, how do we habitualise it so that it becomes literally natural to move more?

  1. At the beginning, establish the "que" and "extrinsic reward.*" The que can be a location, a time of day, or a group of people. This is why training in a small group environment at a regular time each day is so effective. The extrinsic reward is something you enjoy. A nice meal out after you have completed a few days in a row, a new pair of training shoes at the end of a month. Something you value. Eventually, this reward isn't needed as it becomes intrinsic (just "feels good"). It will NOT be intrinsic at the start.**
  2. Keep a log. Write down your sessions, what you did, how you felt. Make some notes. This helps you to visually see what you have done, to cement that you have dedicated that time to your movement practice each day. You get to "tick the day off" so to speak.
  3. Occasionally let it go. At the beginning, the will power required will build some mounting pressure. Don't train every single day. Rather, accept that the habit will form better if you regularly have a rest, and literally don't worry about it at all. For example, every third day or so at the start you might completely rest, or sleep in. You can do whatever you want on this day.
  4. Make sure the movement practice is compatible and sustainable. This is huge. The type of training I see a lot of people do (been there) literally is not sustainable and even if you DID have the will power to do it for a long period (I did), then the body can easily break down (mine did). Focus on strength development, mobility or learning new movement patterns. 

*This concept comes from "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg

**The gap between intrinsic and extrinsic is huge and where communication breaks down between a lot of coaches and clients. Prior to the habit forming, there is a completely different program being run, which needs a completely different set of conditions.


Want to get blogs like this delivered to you each day?

Sign up here




john marsh