Habits of Fit People: Mark Your Calendar

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I recently saw an article talking about the 10 habits of fit people. Sounds interesting, right? Well, some of them were okay, but it's a lot of the same things you hear all the time. Who needs to hear more about "making lasting lifestyle changes," or to "exercise in the morning"? Well, maybe some of us do. But it got me thinking—what are my habits for keeping fit and staying healthy?

Here's one that works for me: Marking my calendar. So why does something like this matter?

One thing that keeps me consistent is treating exercise like any other obligation on my calendar. It has a set time, day, and activity (like a class, video, or strength training at the gym) and I don't move it or let other things interfere. That means write in ink, not pencil! Some people might want a little more wiggle room, in which case you can set a block of time in your schedule (for example, take the 6:30 Spinning class, but if that doesn't work out, you'll do the 7:15 class, even though it might not be the ideal time for you).

Why it works: For one, people who are successful exercisers make exercise a priority. When you add a workout to your calendar, it becomes as much a part of your day as going to work or paying the bills. And when other things come up—especially things that aren't mandatory—you can pull out your calendar and see that you might have a conflict (your exercise session), so you can turn down or re-schedule other things. Plus when you write something down you're more likely to stick with it—if you're like me, you know how good it feels to cross off an item on your to-do list.

It may seem simple or obvious, but give it a try. If you don't already plan your workouts, making them "equal" to all other appointments or obligations, you might be surprised at how well it works.

Do you put workouts on your calendar or to-do list? Does it work for you? Share your experience in the comments below.

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people laugh @ me when i do that...but i'm truly a schedule person...even if i exercise/walk/go to the gym same time everyday...its on the calendar!! I treat it like any other appointment! Report
I don't write down when i have my workout, but i usually have one workout first thing in the morning, and then try to get another one later in the day. My workout comes before anything else i have planned. Report
I have standing appointments to meet people to bikle after work two evenings per week. This accountability is good for me. Report
I schedule water aerobics and gym on my weekly planner every Sunday morning when my husband and I coordinate calendars. Report
I think this just might work for me Report
I think this might help me. Report
I have a calender just for this reason! I also put my workouts in my appointment book so I know its scheduled like any other meeting; that way it's a lifestyle and I just expect to do it. Report
I'm someone that needs structure, so this will work for me :) Report
I have abbreviations for the classes I attend and mark them in my planner which is with me all the time! I've found that if I incorporate my classes into my plan for the day, I am more likely to attend! I also draw a little heart on each day I work out. It keeps me motivated so that I can keep as many streaks as possible! Report
I always put the gym or my workout on my to do list and have it blocked off on my ical. Otherwise it is too easy to just pretend I don't have to do it. On weekends I am more flexible about when I go (even if the calender says 9am, I might not get there until 11am, or even 7pm) but on weekdays the time I ink in is gym time- it's as firm on my calender as going to class. Report
I don't mark a calendar by I do keep track of it with my wii and and the fitness log on spark. Report
A variation for those with computers at home or work, I set up my MS Outlook to DAILY alarm and remind me to take 15 minute walks - at 10:30am and 2:30pm. Acutally I started out with 5 minutes once a day and have built up to twice a day. On REALLY STRESSFUL days, I also add another 10-20 min walk at lunch. It took a couple of months, but how it has become a wonderful HABIT. On BAD days when I have a project deadline looming or crisis all day long, and I dont take a walk, the day is WORSE - my attitude and enery plummets and stress multiples. Do whatever works. Good luck, Fellow Sparkers! Report
This page is no longer available and it cost money to join that site, which they do not tell you up front. What a scam! Report
I don't write it on a calendar, but I use a similar technique in that I set my alarm, on my phone, for the time I need to get up and organized and fit in my lifting before my spinning class each day. I make sure to set the alarm on my phone every afternoon of day before. When that alarm goes off, I won't allow myself to hit snooze, instead, I get up immediately brush teeth/wash face put on the gym clothes, eat my breakfast and get out the door. Report
To get started I always sign up for a class, I have paid the money so I better go. Once I get those down booking time afterwards is easy.
I downloaded the Body For Life work out in Excel and every day is documented for what activity to do (UpperBody, Cardio, Rest, LowerBody). It tracks for 84 days so I don't want to mess up the tabs....so I go. 62 days and counting. Report
Personally, it doesn't matter to me if I have a calendar or not. If I don't exercise first thing in the morning, it doesn't happen. I do track on SP - and reward myself for meeting my personal goals. Report
I think I will try this. Report
I have already scheduled in my activities for January. These are mostly the things I have paid for. I have to start doing this for my home workouts as well. I want to build some consistency in terms of when I workout at home. Report
I give my self a sticker on the days i go to the gym, but i guess i should so something for the things i do outher then the gym. but i do like the idea of puting it down on calendar then even more likely not to not to it. Report
I give myself a star on the days I go to jazzercise classes. This year we will get a really neat purse for 100 classes I am excited I will get that Report
*** Don't forget to also book in REST days!!!!!*** Report
I have done this FOREVER! I am one of those people that likes to do LOOK BACKS and see just how many days of the year I was active!
Now that I'm training for my FIRST fitness competition it's a great way to remind myself of what body part needs attention! Report
Wake up... coffee or green tea..breakfast if I am up in time... get ready for pool... pool for 2 hours... sauna.. home.. Report
I stay on track by making a calendar on the computer and entering the a different exercise for M-F of each week. Report
This is a WONDERFUL tip! Bravo! I just started a new fitness plan a few days ago and had to create a weekly schedule first, or else I would never complete and stick to everything I need to do daily. The Spark People site helps a bunch, too! My calendar includes times for my meals, meds, snacks, water (with each meal/snack), cardio/gym, strength training, abdominal breathing and bedtime. It has only been four days, but it has been quite a blessing! I even have regular deep breathing exercises (in addition to a specific daily abdominal breathing routine) entered along with my meals. I would definitely recommend writing down exercise times as appointments and treating them as such. Thanks again for the tip! :o) Report
Work has been very hectic for me the past few months so I started marking my gym-time at/around lunches and right after work in my Microsoft Outlook calendar at work... that way if someone goes to book me for a meeting that time shows up as busy/out of office. It's a lot easier to stick to my gym sessions because it's already blocked off - AND it helps me to ensure I get away from my desk at lunch... and don't end up working through lunches or working late every day. Report
I don't put it in my calendar but I make sure I get my 30 minutes E done by noon every day. I have the luxury of being at home so my time is really my own. But I know that if I DON'T do the E in the morning, it can slip away for the day. Report
I put my exercise classes on a calemdar. The classes are seven days a week, one to four per day. I attend all of them. Yesterday my Pilates class was cancelled and so I stayed for the hour and did everything on my own. This works for me.

Twenty-five years ago I would get up at 4:30 and ride 30 miles before work everyday and then do another 150 miles on the weekends. I also walked 8 to 10 miles per day. My motivation was 2 kids,single Mom, and no support. I had to stay healthy. We never ate out, all meals were balanced and in proportion. My children were never ill and never had a cavity. My kids grew up, I remarried, we ate out all the time, I put on 100 lbs. over the next 20 years.

I am still searching for something to motivate me as much as the welfare of my children. Report
Have just started to write 'gym' down. Too soon for any results. My calendar is notoriously flexible, but I'm really going to try to stick with this---we'll see what happens! Report
I don't put it on my calendars, but I work out first thing every morning. If I try to put it off or get to it later, it doesn't get done. It's all about priorities. Report
I put workouts on the calendar. But sometimes I still derail myself. Like tomorrow, I have a haircut appt. and the only time I could make it is during my workout time. I don't know quite what to do about that. Maybe I need to schedule my haircuts more in advance so I can get a better time slot. Report
I use a day planner all the time. I not only mark down exercise as part of my day, but also write down what I do. I have done this ever since joining spark people and it works great for me..... Report
My workouts consist of accumulating steps on a pedometer -- anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 a day. My weekdays are structured, so I don't have to put workouts on a calendar because I'm in the habit of walking whenever I can during the day. I get off the subway one stop further away and walk to my office (1500 steps); I get up and stretch every 1-2 hours, and take the long way through the corridors to get my coffee (about 700 steps each stretch or coffee break). Then I walk at lunchtime (about 5,000-6,000 steps), head back home via the subway (another 1700 steps), and then walk 2,000 to 6,000 additional steps around my neighborhood depending on my energy level, the weather, and family commitments. I am slowly stepping up the pace so I can do all this faster. I am not running yet, but I have seen notable improvements in my speed and heart rate. Report
This sounds like a great idea. I think I will try it. Report
That's a great tip. Report
I also put my workouts on the calendar but I do this after I've gone to the gym. This is because many time I'll have a workout planned and my mood changes once I'm in the gym. I will allow myself up to 2 days off a week. These are my recovery days. If I do weight training I put what part I focuses on and cardio I write down what machine I used and for how long. This allows me to remember and create a schedule for myself. I feel guilty if I skip more than 2 days a week. Report
When just scheduling exercise wasn't working for me, I started using a super-simple web tool called "Joe's Goals" ( www.joesgoals.com ) to keep track of when I did or did not do the things I am trying to do more often. You can assign a plus or negative point value to things, then a simple single click with the mouse records it, and my google homepage keeps track of a little graph- if it starts leaning into the red, I know i'm slipping! I like this because I can easily manipulate my behavior simply by having that constant reminder that when I am online, I am SEEING my progress... if it's in the red, maybe I shouldn't be sitting online. ;) I should get gaining points! Report
Great tip! Seems like something so simple, but definitely something I overlooked. Thanks! Report
I use the calendar for all our appointments, but I never thought to put my exercising on it too. I will have to give it a try. When i commit to something I always try and do it. Thanks for the suggestion. Report
Despite being the mother of a 3-month-old baby, I've managed to develop a routine that pretty much makes it impossible to avoid my morning work-out:

I pack my workout bag with my work clothes, not my workout stuff, for the following day. I lay out my workout clothes right at the foot of the bed. When I wake up, I immediately put on my workout clothes before I do anything else. That way, I feel like I should go to the gym anyway, since I'm already dressed for it.

Dropping my son off at day care gives me extra motivation - my son's teacher is expecting me to show up at a certain time, early enough for me to work out before I go to work, and she's expecting me to show up in my workout clothes.

Also, I can't go to work in my workout clothes (tank top and shorts) because I have to walk through the entire office to get to the nearest women's bathroom. Therefore, the only option is to go to the gym. I haven't showered yet, so I have to actually go into the locker room at the very least. And since I'm already there, dressed to work out, standing in the locker room, I might as well go and get it done!

I also walk over lunch for 45 minutes, and my motivation for that is twofold - 1, the office secretary always comments about whether or not she saw me walking when she sees me after lunch (in a good way), and 2, I seriously need time out in the sun, as I spend my entire working day inside a windowless office or windowless manufacturing floor! Report
I don't schedule exercise on my calendar, but after I've done a workout, I highlight the date. It's somewhat like a child's chore chart w/stickers. I like to look at my calendar and see the highlighted days. Report
I will usually right it down on my things to do list. I also print off the fitness program out every week so I know what I need to do and when! Report
Correction in my previous post since there is no edit button:

I have the same habit for my morning sessions, I workout first and then eat breakfast. Report
I have 2 calendars that I hang up at my desk (I workout mostly at the gym at my job); one is my weight lifting calendar and the other is my cardio calendar. To ensure I don't "forget" to do an exercise, I have the calendars up where I can see them. Other people that come by comment on my calendars which is a good reminder to get off my duff and go to the gym. Generally though, I don't forget as I usually go on my lunch hour and eat my lunch at my desk after I'm finished. I have the same habit for my morning sessions, I eat workout first and then eat breakfast. Therefore my breakfast & lunch are like rewards to me for working out, especially if I've cooked something really good. Report
This may be a great idea for me. With two daughters and their activities to work around, plus their schedule between my house and their dad's, maybe this is what I need to really fit exercise into my schedule. I'll try it and see how it goes. Report
because i am in holiday i didn't need to schedule my workout times.
However , my studying will begin next week ,then definitely i need to use this idea :) Report
I don't schedule a time on the calender, but I put an "x" on the calender everytime I do my walks. So if there aren't alot of x's on the calender, I feel really guilty cuz I see them every time I sit at the computer. It really does make a difference when you see everyday what you have or have not done. Plus everyone else can see what you've done. Report
Yep... I write it in my calendar to remind me that working out IS in fact a priority. It is important to my health, and I am as important to myself as anything else on my calendar. Report
I don't use a calendar but I do print out my fitness plan from SP and that certainly helps remind me of what I need to get done each day. Report
I don't think this would work for me, but I'll give it a try. Report