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This Is How Long It Actually Takes For A Workout Routine To Become A Habit

Sticking with a new workout routine can be extremely challenging.

You'll be on a roll for a week and feel like nothing can stop you, and then Monday rolls around, and just the thought of taking on the treadmill is basically torture.

One day off turns into three, a rest day turns into a rest week, and before you know it, you feel like you have to start all over again to reach your fitness goals.

For some people, working out is like second nature — an appointment with themselves that they always set time aside for, whether it means setting that extra early alarm, or slightly shifting their schedule to fit in SoulCycle.

But how did they get there? I mean, they must have started out with those torturous treadmill thoughts, too, right?

To Make A Gym Routine Truly Stick, It Needs To Become A Genuine Habit

This basically means making it a behavior that comes automatically and without thought, because you've done it over and over in the past.

The constant repetition leads to automaticity, which leads to lack of thought.

Bottom line: Nike is onto something when tell you to “just do it.”

Listen, sleep-walking to the elliptical because of “lack of thought” sounds lovely and all, but the real question is, how long does that shift in thought process actually take?

According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days (approximately eight to nine weeks) for someone to effectively form a habit of any kind.

OK OK, not as long as I thought.

The Psychology Of A Bad Habit

Elite Daily spoke with personal trainer  Greer Rothermel to get her point of view on cultivating a true dedication to a workout routine.

She explains,

As a personal trainer and fitness professional, I can say it definitely varies person to person regarding how long it takes for a workout routine to become a habit, but on average, [I'd say] six to eight weeks.

The human body is resilient to change, so in this case, making an alteration to activity levels, whether you are trying to develop new healthy habits or extinguish old unhealthy habits, is not going to happen overnight.

Rothermel went on to say that lifestyle changes (not just a fitness fad or crash diet) take time and patience.

Not All Days Are Going To Be Fun Or Filled With Motivation, But Persistence Truly Does Pay Off

But how can you make sure you stick to your new routine without ditching it within a week's time?

Personal trainer and nutrition coach Paola Marquez gave Elite Daily some awesome advice on how to hold yourself accountable.

She says,

My advice is that you plan your workouts in advance, because this will be crucial to your success.

Schedule your workouts as “meetings” [by] adding them to your daily to-do lists.

[This] will guarantee that you don't forget about them and will [hold] you accountable.

Marquez also suggests getting a workout buddy to join you in your new routine. Accountability is super effective, especially when someone else is counting on you to show up. 

She also insists realistic goals will get you to where you want to be. Listen to your body, and only push yourself to do what you're capable of accomplishing.

Baby steps, guys. Those badass biceps will come with time.

Last but not least, Marquez tells Elite Daily,

Workout routines don't work unless you do.

Don't forget that this depends on you! You have to do it by yourself for yourself!

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Georgina Berbari

Staff Writer

Georgina is a fitness writer at Elite Daily. She is also a yoga instructor and runs the popular lifestyle Instagram page, @thelittleflowerpetal.
Georgina is a fitness writer at Elite Daily. She is also a yoga instructor and runs the popular lifestyle Instagram page, @thelittleflowerpetal.

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