Healthstyle Blog

Making Exercise a Habit That Sticks in Midlife

“My favorite show is on.”

“I don’t want to mess up my hair.”

“It’s too cold.”

“I didn’t get enough sleep last night.”

“I don’t have time today.”

“I’m not in the mood today.”

These are just a half dozen excuses we tell ourselves. “It’s too cold” is a reason I tell myself not to workout. As women in midlife it gets even harder between being busy doing one thing or the other for someone other than ourselves, we also grapple with the peri or menopause symptoms which can leave us tired and definitely tired or in no mood for any type of movement. You have to make it a priority in your life. Midlife is a time when movement is more important now than ever before. Making exercise a habit is not easy. But you can—and should—do it, especially if you want to make the next years of your life healthier and happier than the ones before and I’m sure you want that.

When you’re trying to make a significant lifestyle change permanent, such as integrating exercise into your daily schedule, consistency plays a big role in the likelihood of your success. While experts in psychology have yet to reach an agreement as to just how long you need to be consistent in order to form a lasting habit, the consensus is that forming any habit does take time.

The more habitual daily exercise becomes for you, the less likely you will be to make excuses not to do it. Ladies, here are some suggestions on fitting exercise into your busy schedule.

Exercise at the same time every day. If you routinely use, “I don’t have time” as an excuse to avoid exercising, take another look at your schedule. The easiest place to find 30 minutes for most women is at the beginning of the day, before work and family can distract you from your goal. While this will mean getting up earlier, you may find that you feel more energetic for the rest of the day. If mornings are hard for you, find ways to make it more convenient to workout in the evening. That could mean taking your gym clothes with you to work, so that you stop by the gym after work. However you manage it, exercising at the same time every day should help you in your quest to workout consistently.

Use “but” when you find yourself making excuses. When you start to hear the voice in your head list the reasons you can’t exercise today, refocus on the reasons why you should. For example, if you hear “I can’t exercise today because I’m just too exhausted,” respond with “But, if I do exercise today, I will feel energized and less tired and I will be a much better daughter, wife, or mother.”

Use a trigger to get yourself in the right headspace for exercise. Triggers are often recommended by psychologists to people trying to form good habits. Triggers work very well when trying to form a good habit. Is there a song that makes you feel really good? Perhaps one that pumps you up and energizes you? Listen to it before or during every workout. Your brain will begin to associate the song with the good feelings you get from exercise. Then, the next time you start to make an excuse not to exercise, turn on the song.

Give yourself a daily reminder of the benefits you’ll reap from a consistent exercise program. In numerous medical studies, regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent diabetes and osteoporosis, reduce or maintain weight, boost energy level, promote better sleep and improve menopausal symptoms. Write the benefits that are most important to you on a piece of paper and post it on your bathroom mirror, your computer monitor, maybe your refrigerator door. Take a moment each day to read the list and think about all the good that will come from your daily workout.

Find good role models. Look around you – you likely already know someone who is exercising regularly and benefiting from it. Make them a role model. Spend time talking to them about their exercise routine and how they maintain consistency. Ask them for tips. Join them for a workout at their gym or for their workout. If you don’t know anyone personally you can join a fitness group online.

Don’t expect perfection. No matter how habitual exercise eventually becomes for you, there will be times when you really have to skip a workout. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, do what you need to get back on track as soon as possible. You will likely find that you truly miss the good feelings you get from your regular workout. And that will motivate you to work even harder tomorrow.

The best things in life—like physical fitness—rarely come easily. You have to work for them in order to reap the benefits, and that means a little inconvenience. However, you can minimize this by keeping your routine simple. You don’t have to drive to a gym and spend time on complicated equipment. All you really need is appropriate footwear and a safe open road, a skipping rope, or even your living room and a DVD.


If you want to have success with any exercise program, you need to commit to it. Treat your workouts like any other type of appointment and put them on your calendar. Then do whatever it takes to make sure you complete them.

The following are suggested exercises to get you started. It is important to be aware of your limitations while doing the exercises.


Smooth Movement Jumping Jacks


push up







I hope these suggested exercises can help you get into a routine. I like to exercise early in the morning. For me working out in the morning at 5:15am is the most convenient time for me. What time do you like to exercise? Why do you like to exercise at that time? “It’s cold” is an excuse that comes up a lot for me in the winter. What is a common thought that may prevent your from exercising?  Post your response in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your response.



  1. chandrika

    Hi Kwavi I too prefer exercising in the mornings at around 7.30am when my children leave to school .My most common excuse not to exercise would be “there is so much work to do .”

    • Kwavi Agbeyegbe

      Hi Chandrika
      Yes working out in the morning works for me too. “There is so much work to do” is a common excuse we tell ourselves. However we tell ourselves this when deep down we are not too keen on exercising. I normally tell my clients, that we hardly tell ourselves there is too much work to do to find time to eat. Making exercise a task that is non-negotiable no matter what helps to place it high on our priority of our tasks for the day.

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