How To Build Stronger Habits

It takes time to create new habits (more than you're told). However, three variables can make the process easier and help your...

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Arnold’s corner

  • How to build stronger habits

  • Workout of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Corner: Like A Good Neighbaaa

I get a lot of pitches and throw them right into the trash, but when this came to me, I loved it. It was a hilarious script. 

It is even funnier when you know that agents and producers told me my accent would never make it in Hollywood, and now my accent is the reason for a Super Bowl commercial.


Deep Dive: How To Build Stronger Habits

Building dependable habits is one of the best investments you can make. But many people misunderstand how much time it takes.

Research suggests forming any habit can take anywhere from 18 days to nearly nine months. And how you approach the habits can influence how quickly they develop — and how well they stick. 

Three variables help influence the strength of a habit: complexity, consistency, and accountability. Here’s an overview of each and how you can make them work for you.

Complexity: Speed is an important component of habit development (for both good and bad). As bestselling author Michael Easter points out in Scarcity Brain,

When casinos removed the clunky handles from slot machines and instead installed spin buttons—which a gambler can keep their finger on and press and repress immediately—gambling rates more than doubled. The average slot machine player went from 400 to 900 games an hour.

The more complex the behavior, the longer it will take to stick. To build a habit quickly, you need repetition, speed, and ease. The things you do daily are the things that will become routine the fastest. This is why brushing your teeth is a habit most people can do. If you want to build a habit, start with an easier variation. If working out is challenging, focus on shorter workouts that require fewer days of commitment. It’s easier to workout three days per week for 15 minutes than five days per week for 60 minutes, and you can always build up to more once the habit is established.

Consistency: Some research suggests it can take up to 6 months to build an exercise habit, but other studies have found that you can make exercise a part of your life in just six weeks. The difference? Those who create habits quicker have fewer tasks to complete, which helps them create more consistency.

As we just mentioned, less complexity helps if you want to become more consistent. But you’re also more likely to do a behavior when you create a cue that’s hard to avoid. If you can link a new behavior to one you already perform consistently, it can lead to quicker habit formation.

If you struggle to make exercise a part of your life, here are a few examples of familiar cues you can use: your morning coffee (either before or after, perform an at-home workout), leaving to start your work day (go to the gym and then your job), a lunch break (split time between workout and eating), or leaving work (and going to the gym instead of going home). In each example, you take something you already do and then use it to trigger the new behavior you want to add. 

There will always be barriers and responsibilities, but it’s about finding at least 10 to 15 minutes to prioritize your health. If you need a quick workout, we have more than 30 in this free guide or do the workout of the week below.

Accountability: Having friends, an app, or a community provide support is an effective way to keep you on track instead of always needing to feel motivated to do the right thing. It’s one reason we built the Pump app. It comes with a habit builder and a community to help you stay motivated and focused on your goal. 

Anything that creates reminders and positive support and doesn’t require you to do it all on your own will increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to the plan, adopt the new habits, and then watch those new behaviors become a part of your routine. 

Workout of the Week

Last week’s workout was so popular that we created another similar style of workout but with a new setup and structure. The workout is designed to get the most out of every set and maximize intensity.

How to do it:

This full-body workout will pump up each muscle group in your body. Start by performing one set of each exercise in round 1. Then rest for 3 minutes. Move to round 2, do each exercise, and rest another 3 minutes. Repeat this process until you do all four rounds. If you’re short on time, that’s it. If you want to push the limits, you can do up to three cycles of the entire workout.

Round 1

  1. Rear-foot elevated split squat: 6-8 reps

  2. Dumbbell squat: 6-8 reps

  3. Bodyweight squat: 10-20 reps

3 minutes rest

Round 2

  1. Incline dumbbell press: 6-8 reps

  2. Flat dumbbell press: 6-8 reps

  3. Pushup: 10-20 reps

3 minutes rest

Round 3

  1. Chest-supported dumbbell row 6-8 reps

  2. Bent-over dumbbell row: 6-8 reps

  3. Inverted row: 10-20 reps

Round 4

  1. Kickstand deadlift: 6-8 reps

  2. Straight-leg deadlift: 6-8 reps

  3. Glute bridge walkout 10-20 reps

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes! Here’s wishing you all a fantastic week ahead.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell