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How to Create an Exercise Routine You Love

May 19

After many years of thinking I had to have the perfect exercise routine, I’ve finally created a routine that I never want to quit. The big secret? Doing forms of exercise that I truly love! Love and exercise don’t typically fit into the same sentence for most people, but I want to reassure you I know from my own experience that they absolutely can.

We have all felt the initial motivation and subsequent disappointment, failure, and frustration when we miss a day of our routine. This all-or-nothing thinking leaves us feeling stuck in a cycle of feeling weak, lazy, or just plain not good enough. No wonder we’ve all felt discouraged by exercise at some point in our lives!

Over the past year, I have created an exercise routine that not only I have stuck to, but that I look forward to each day. If you are currently scoffing at the thought of actually loving your exercise routine, I’m here to tell you that it’s much easier than you may think and take you through the steps to create your own exercise routine you can stick to.

A Note On Perfectionism and Experimentation

Earlier this year, I shared my top 10 habits for keeping anxiety and stress low. Exercise and movement is my #1 way for managing stress! Once I made this connection, creating an exercise routine I love felt more like a no-brainer. Making lifestyle changes does require thoughtful, intentional effort, but the results are so much more long-lasting and fulfilling.

Creating an exercise routine you love will require you to let go of the harsh expectations you may have of yourself regarding exercise. It requires experimentation, an acceptance of failure, and a willingness to let go of expectations of perfection. It has taken me at least a year of tinkering with my routine to find what works for me! If you’re ready to make these shifts and create an exercise routine you love, let’s dive in!  

Woman in yoga clothes with her hands in prayer
Woman in workout clothes with hands on her hips

Creating an Exercise Routine You Love

Before we begin creating an exercise routine you love, grab a notebook or open a fresh Word doc. You’re going to ask yourself these three questions. Before you begin writing, I’ll walk you through each question in detail.

1. What forms of play and exercise did you love as a kid?

2. What types of exercise and movement do you love to do now (or wish you did more of)?

3. How could you fit these forms of exercise into your life now and create a routine around them?

1. What forms of play and exercise did you love as a kid?

Take a moment to think back to how you loved to play as a kid. If you played a sport you loved, that’s an easy place to start! What did you love about this sport? Did you enjoy the camaraderie of playing on a team or building on skills as you progressed? If you didn’t play a sport, did you love riding bikes with friends, swimming, or playing tag in your backyard?

My favorite sport as a kid was gymnastics. Not only did I have the body type for it, I truly enjoyed learning new skills each week, the risks and challenges involved, and cheering on my fellow teammates. Gymnastics, like many sports, eventually edges you out at a fairly young age unless you are an elite athlete. I took classes until I was fifteen, but found myself missing it through college and beyond. Luckily, I found a local gym that holds adult classes weekly. The class is super laid back and fun, and I get to meet other people who have the same interest. I feel connected to the forms of movement I loved as a kid, and it makes exercise something I look forward to.

Now that you have thought about what forms of exercise you loved doing as a kid, let’s move onto the next question!

Woman in workout clothing sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat
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2.  What types of exercise and movement do you love to do now (or wish you did more of)?

Next, think about what forms of exercise and movement you enjoy doing now or wish you did more of. Is there a barre class you love attending but don’t always find the time? Do you go on a run occasionally but wish it were a regular habit? Write down at least one form of exercise you enjoy now.

For me, I know I love yoga and working out with weights. I knew I wanted to find something I could do in my living room, so I kept my eyes open for recommendations of a streaming service that would fit the bill. I eventually found Kait Hurley’s online move and meditate program, and I have been loving it for over a year now.

There are so many classes and streaming exercise programs out there now for every type of exercise. Keep your eyes open, ask around, and do a little searching for something that excites you. After you brainstorm the forms of exercise you enjoy now, let’s put your new exercise routine into action with the next question.  

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Woman in workout clothing leaning forward and smiling

3. How could you fit these forms of exercise into your life now and create a routine around them?

Finally, having collected this information about the forms of exercise you loved as a kid and what you love currently, you can create an exercise routine that will feel easy and natural in your everyday routine.

The key here is starting small and experimenting. Start by scheduling in one or two new forms of exercise from your list every week. If you loved taking dance classes as a kid, start by scheduling in a dance party somewhere in your day! Something as small as a dance party in your kitchen is an excellent form of exercise, and connects you back to the sense of play you may have lost as an adult.

Put a new yoga class on your calendar for one week. Check in and ask yourself how it felt for you and your schedule. If you enjoyed it and you feel confident that you could keep it on your calendar regularly, keep going! If it doesn’t feel exciting to you, leave it and try something else.

A woman in fitness clothing holding her hands behind her head and smiling

My Exercise Routine

If you need some inspiration to get you started, here is my current routine! This is what works for me now, in the season of life I’m currently in. I know that I can change up my routine any time I want to. This willingness to let go of strict rules and expectations is the main reason I still love my exercise routine!  

I typically exercise for 20-30 minutes a day, 4-5 days per week. I don’t schedule out exactly what workout I’ll do each day, but I give myself a flexible structure. My exercise routine typically involves exercising at home, and attending yoga and gymnastics classes once or twice a week.

I primarily exercise at home using Kait Hurley’s Move + Meditate website and app. She has a variety of videos from high intensity to restorative, so I can pick a video quickly on the spot based on how I’m feeling that day. There is a yoga class I love to attend on Wednesday mornings, so I always have that on my calendar. If I can’t attend one week, I’ll either skip it or find another class time. I also attend gymnastics class once or twice a month when it fits in my schedule.

Remember that exercise is not supposed to make you feel unworthy, weak, and frustrated. In fact, it’s the exact opposite! Creating an exercise routine you love will have you feeling excited, stronger, and more like yourself than ever before. Let me know your new exercise routine goes!

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