Working Out After Work — How To Build A New Habit In 5 Steps

René Rosendahl
5 min readOct 5, 2020

Thanks to Covid-19, many of us are working from home now and we are limited in terms of where we can go and what we can do. It has been tough enough to figure out how to work in a new setting and be productive at home, so staying active and getting regular exercise may be more of an afterthought. And yet, not only do we all know we should be getting exercise, we actually need it to stay healthy, physically and mentally.

Another issue many are experiencing is that working from home with the laptop always in reach and in sight creates another problem: boundaries. Where does work end and the rest of your life begin? It’s easy to see where things can get blurry.

If you followed my writing, you know that I’m a big proponent of building healthy habits. Why? Because habits (activities you do regularly and sometimes even automatically) are the best way to make permanent and sustainable changes in your life.

So I’d like to propose the following: Make it a habit to get exercise most days of the week right after you finish work. Here are the five steps to make it happen:

1. Find your Anchor

In order to develop new behaviors, it works best to anchor new activities against existing routines and extend them (for more detail, check out Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg). In this case, we’re trying to anchor against you finishing the work phase of the day, which could be when you…

  • close your laptop,
  • push your chair back from the desk,
  • close your email client, or
  • turn off that desk lamp.

Whatever the last thing is that you do regularly to finish your workday, make that your anchor, so it can serve as a signal to launch into the new habit.

2. Get ready

Next, without first plopping yourself down on the couch or turning on the TV, put on workout or comfortable clothes, and grab water. It’s important that you do this right away. Since your mind will be tired by now, you may never muster the activation energy for the rest of the day if you first try to “relax for just a few minutes”. Trust me on this one…

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René Rosendahl

Thinker, writer, product guy, developer, and exercise fanatic.