Life at Oxford can be intense at times. There’s a lot to do, and not a huge amount of time, so it’s vital that you’re able to make the most of the hours you have available to you.
Creating good habits is an important way to ensure you achieve what you want to, while also enjoying the full Oxford experience. Good habits will make sure you’re well placed to cope with trickier times of the year, and that you’re in a good situation and frame of mind during these more challenging times.
Building a habit into your routine is especially important when it comes to adding in exercise.
Choose something you enjoy
Sticking to a new exercise routine can be a challenging thing to do, so don’t make it even harder for yourself by choosing something that you don’t enjoy, or are really going to struggle to stick with.
There’s a lot on offer at Oxford, whether it’s University sports clubs, college sport teams or fitness classes, so take your time and try to find something you enjoy. It will be much easier to stick to your chosen activity if you’re actually enjoying it and looking forward to taking part in it.
Accept that it may be harder at first
If you’ve ever thought that you could never enjoy an activity like running, it’s worth realising that some sports and activities take a little time to adjust to.
Once your basic fitness level has improved, you may find that you can actually start to enjoy even activities you once dreaded the idea of.
This is another reason why forming good habits is so important. Doing so will ensure you stick with your activity for a long enough period of time to decide whether you actually enjoy it or not.
Give it time
In a 2009 study at UCL, the average time it took to create a habit was 66 days. So it’s important to try and stay motivated and consistent with your new activity. Set yourself the goal of sticking with the exercise routine for at least a couple of months, even if you’re tempted to give up. Otherwise, you’re simply not giving yourself a fair crack of the whip.
Don’t take on too much
There’s a lot of work to do at Oxford, so it’s important to make sure that your activities are reasonable, and that you’re not overloading yourself. If you take on more commitments than you can handle, you’ll simply grind to a halt during busier periods, and the first thing to go will be your exercise.
Choose a sensible amount of activities to commit to, and make sure you’re confident that it will not affect your academic work – especially during more challenging times of the year.
Choose a regular class or activity
If you’re looking to exercise more, choosing an activity that takes place at the same time and place each week can be extremely beneficial.
Exercising with others can also be a really important way to motivate yourself, as you won’t want to let people down, and will feel more compelled to fulfil your commitments. Read more about why exercising in a group can be so beneficial here.
Track your progress
There are plenty of good apps where you can keep track of your goal, and receive notifications to ensure you’re still on track. Being able to visualise your progress can be motivational, and if you’re naturally competitive, you won’t want to break your streak of progress.
If you’d rather keep things analogue, why not keep a short journal, in which you can detail your progress?
Let us know if you have any more ideas below, and enjoy getting active at Oxford!
This post is part of our Active at Oxford campaign, to encourage more students to enjoy the benefits of sports and physical activity. See here for more information.