Keeping the Momentum: The Journey of Habit Formation in Fitness

Discover the power of habit formation and find your 'why' with our gym community. Celebrate progress, embrace challenges, and keep the momentum going in your fitness journey. Let's make every step count together in 2024.
Austin Phillips, Founder of Ardent Fitness and Education
February 27, 2024
Keeping the Momentum: The Journey of Habit Formation in Fitness

Austin Phillips, Founder of Ardent Fitness and Education


February 27, 2024

The concept of change is simple, not easy.

As we wave goodbye to February and hand out shirts from out January challenge, I want to take a moment to celebrate everyone who joined us in hitting the gym for 18 workouts last month. Your dedication is nothing short of inspiring! But as we move forward, I'm here to talk about something just as important as starting strong: keeping the momentum going.

Change, especially when it comes to fitness, isn't something that happens overnight. It's about taking a first step, whether it's a short walk after dinner, a 20-minute session on the Peloton, or a morning stretch. Life is unpredictable and often hectic, but remember, doing something is always better than nothing.

Sometimes, a little extrinsic motivation can give us the nudge we need. It could be a special shirt (like the ones we just earned!), a trip, or any reward that doesn't tie back to food or "earning" a meal. Why? Because creating a healthy relationship with our fitness and nutrition is crucial, and rewards based on food can sometimes lead to the opposite.

Shirts waiting to be picked up by members. Extrinsic motivation can sometimes help close the gap between knowing and doing.

Personal Motivation

Speaking from personal experience, I've set a goal that requires me to be as fit as possible. I've booked a trip that's a year and a half away, and my fitness level will directly impact my experience. Despite owning a gym, finding the time and motivation to work out consistently can be challenging, especially at 43 with two young kids and the reality of life. But this trip, my form of extrinsic motivation, has kept me on track without missing a single workout in 2024. It's a commitment to myself that's non-refundable and hinges on being fit and healthy.

It has been YEARS since I have had this kind of consistency. It took extrinsic motivation to keep me on track and help create habit change.

I share this story not to boast but to show that finding your "why" can be a powerful motivator, whether it's intrinsic (like wanting to be healthy for your kids) or extrinsic (like a trip or a class reunion). Your "why" doesn't need to make sense to anyone but you.

If accountability is what you're seeking, we're here to help. Setting up a no-sweat intro with us could be your first step towards a fitness journey supported by a community that cares.

The Science of Habit Formation

If you want to know more about sustaining behavior, here is a study which supports these methods. "Theory-based Habit Modeling for Enhancing Behavior Prediction" by Zhang et al. (2022). This research highlights the importance of habit formation in sustaining behavior changes. It suggests that by understanding and leveraging our habit strengths, we can enhance our ability to predict and maintain desired behaviors, like regular exercise.

Health, wellness, and behavior change is simple in theory, but difficult in practice. Have grace with yourself. Many of us have probably strayed from our New Years resolutions but that does not mean you should quit trying. Wellness is a journey and not a destination. Find something you enjoy, connect it to an extrinsic or intrinsic goal, and if you have problems with motivation seek out someone to help guide you.  

Finding Your Why

So, as we move beyond our January challenge, let's find our "why" and use it to fuel our journey. Whether it's through intrinsic motivation or extrinsic rewards, what matters is that it propels us forward. Remember, we're always here to support you every step of the way.

To everyone who's part of our gym family, whether you're just starting out, getting back into it, or have been with us for a while, your journey is unique, and your reasons are your own. Let's make each step count and keep the momentum moving forward in 2024. Every day you say, "I will start tomorrow" or "I can't/won't/don't have time" is a day you can't get back.

References: Zhang, C., Vanschoren, J., van Wissen,A., Lakens, D., de Ruyter, B., & IJsselsteijn, W. A. (2022). Theory-based Habit Modeling for Enhancing Behavior Prediction.

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