Walking Motivation: 5 Ways to Make It a Habit

Tricks that make walking a lifelong habit

Medically reviewed in January 2021

1. Schedule it. If you treat walking as an automatic "must" on your daily list -- like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins -- then there's no debate about whether you will or won't do it. Before long, it'll be a rock-solid habit.

2. Get a buddy. Having a friend (human or furry) waiting for you to take a walk gets you out there day after day. Your walking "buddy" doesn't even have to be somebody you see. It can be a pal with whom you check in every day, by phone or online. If your pal doesn't get your daily "I just walked" message, he or she knows to give you a get-going poke.

3. Add some fun. Dying to play Boggle on your smartphone? Head outdoors or hop on the treadmill, and think up words while you walk. Addicted to recorded romance novels? Listen to them only while you stride along (just don't run into anything when it gets steamy!). Whatever makes walking more fun for you, do it!

4. Keep track. A walking log, a pedometer, even a little notation in your calendar -- it's all good. That's because keeping track of your miles and goals increases your odds of sticking to your plan.

5. Reward yourself. We're all for bribery when it comes to exercise. Give yourself a walking goal of, say, 10 miles per week for a month, or 60 minutes a day for a week -- and if you're successful, treat yourself to a massage or a gotta-see-it movie or a new MP3 player for your walking tunes or recorded books.

More On

What to Do When You Don't Feel Like Walking

article

What to Do When You Don't Feel Like Walking
1. Walk at home. Can't get out of your PJs? No problem. 2. Set a goal. Give yourself something to shoot for—like logging 10,000 steps for the first t...
Get the Most Out of Winter Walking

slideshow

Get the Most Out of Winter Walking
Don’t let cold weather stop you from burning calories and having fun with friends.
Great Debate: Walking Indoors vs. Outdoors

article

Great Debate: Walking Indoors vs. Outdoors
INDOORS! "I lost 35 pounds by walking inside my house!" Becky Menn-Hamblin, 67, Knoxville, TN People think I'm crazy -- and maybe I am a little wacky...
Walk This Way: Tips for Better Form

article

Walk This Way: Tips for Better Form
One of the many great things about walking is that everyone knows how to do it. But if it's your main way to exercise, a few form tweaks will help you...
3 Secrets of Walking to Lose Weight

article

3 Secrets of Walking to Lose Weight
While the right eating plan is crucial to weight loss, consistent exercise may help you drop pounds and keep you in shape. And if you're not quite rea...