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A cue is a reminder. It can be many different things. Here are 10 examples of cues that help you remember it is time to exercise.

This post gives some practical examples of cues you can use. It is great to take your goal and make it into a powerful question before setting up the cue (see goal achievement strategy post). The cue reminds you to do the action that is relevant to your goal. For example the post it note cue that says “do you want to be able to carry your kids on your shoulders?” reminds you to do your shoulder exercises.

Before getting to these, I would suggest getting clear on your vision (see my vision board) and breaking this vision down into some actionable SMART goals.

10 Cues

#1 Time of Day

When do you brush your teeth? For most people it is a time of day. This is a great cue that it is time to do something. We are creatures of habit. You can really set any time of day to be a cue. Recently, I set an alarm in my phone for 807am to take deep breaths and focus on my goal for the day. Now, when ever I see 07 on the clock later in the day, I am reminded to breathe and what my goal is. Whatever time you choose, make it exactly the same time every day. Another common example is running groups or team sports that hold practices at the same time every week.

#2 Tied to another activity

Do you already have a habit that you do regularly like brushing your teeth, washing your face or doing the dishes? You can “tie” other habits to these existing habits. For example, before brushing your teeth do some neck stretches. Basically, we are turning a simple habit into a ritual that has a few steps 1. stretch your neck, 2. brush teeth 3. be awesome!

Alyssa a fitness trainer demonstrates a squat

#3 Physical location

This one is simple. Strongly associate an activity with a place. Pick some place in your home that you go past a few times per day. For example, when I go into the garage I do 5 chin ups. Or, when I get on the elevator I take deep breaths. Do this consistently for 30 days and it will become a cue you don’t even need to think about.

#4 Post it note

This one is a classic. Put post it notes where you will see them that remind you to take action. For example a post it not that says “do you want to be able to carry your kids on your shoulders?” causes you to do your shoulder exercises. Put the post it notes in spots where you are able to do the action. Powerful questions work better than nagging reminders.

#5 Calendar notifications

This is my favourite. I have most of my life in my calendar. When I want to start a new habit or make progress on a goal, I put it in my calendar with the notification set to pop up and send me an email. This is a great reminder to stay on track. Right now, I have a calendar pop up every Friday that says “do you want to set up a powerful week next week?” This reminds me to look at my schedule and put in my exercises.

Alyssa demonstrates a squat at positive shift personal training in burnaby

#6 Appointments

Find a friend and set a date. People are more likely to take action when they involve other people. You can hire someone, like a personal trainer, to have an appointment with. Also, you can find someone else who wants to do the same thing and make an “appointment” with them to do it together.

#7 Elastic band around your wrist

This is old school. The opposite of #8. Wear something, like a hair elastic around your wrist, that will remind you to do your exercises.

#8 Technology

Technology has some powerful ways to remind you to exercise. I have seen two specific types work well. First, having an app where you track your data (steps, food, workouts, etc). If you are able to enter in a goal and have the app buzz at you to remind you of your goal, this is best. You want an app that will change your behaviour or send you a cue. Simply tracking your data isn’t as effective. Secondly, on the fit bit you can set a silent alarm to buzz at certain times. This is similar to #1 but it has another layer so it is definitely more powerful. Having something around your wrist that you can put an alarm in, set a goal, have it buzz at you and track data combines a lot of the cues we are talking about. This is a huge reason why wearable fitness technology has become so popular. Among my clients, the most popular device is the Fitbit Charge.

Positive Shift Personal Training Studio Burnaby Fitness

Click here to view Alyssa’s circuit workout video

#9 Dirty word jar

This is a new one for me. It is a twist on the swear jar that you put money in when you say a bad word. I am doing push ups, instead of putting money in a jar. I do 20 when ever I say the words “should, can’t or try”. This cue is working really well for me. I am doing about 60 push ups per day and strengthening my body and my mindset at the same time.

#10 Clothing

Putting your gym gear out in front of the door is a great reminder to hit the gym. I have even heard of people sleeping in their exercise clothes so that they are one step closer to exercising the next day.


Thank you for reading this. If you have a cue that is working for you, I would love to hear it. Please share it with everyone in the comments below.

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