Working out can change your life in more ways than you think! In addition to improving your health, wellness, and appearance you can also shift your habits in amazing ways. Here are three ways that working out can help you kick bad habits.

1. Develop Your Discipline Mental Muscle

Working out takes an immense amount of discipline. Discipline is a mental power. When you wake up early and don’t want to go to the gym, but do it anyways out of a sense of discipline, you just strengthened what I like to think of as your “discipline muscle”.

Mental strength is just like physical strength in that it develops over time. Discipline is an amazing mental strength to have. With discipline on your side, you can accomplish anything.

When you believe that you are a disciplined person, and that you have the ability to act with discipline, a whole new world opens up to you. You can alter bad habits that have been haunting you for your entire life. Set your mind to making a change, and know that the sense of discipline that you have developed with your workout routine is going to come through for you.

2. Meet New People

When you work out you put yourself in new situations and environments. You connect with new people, who you may have never been in contact with before. If you are struggling to break a bad habit, think about what triggers it. It could be your outlook, your routine, and the level of people that you are with on a day to day basis.

Someone who wants to break a habit of drinking every night, for example, might get triggered by their group of friends who always have beers together. Infusing your life with people who do other activities in the evening can have a big impact.

Even if you don’t spend time with them in social environments, some of their attitude and outlook will rub off on you. You might hear them talking about a new restaurant that they love, or an outdoor film festival that is in town. Bring those ideas to your own social group and shake up your routine!

You could also find that you need to drop friends or spend less time with certain groups. That will happen naturally as your mindset shifts. Sometimes we don’t know what is possible until we see it for ourselves. Meeting people who do things differently can really broaden our perspective.

3. Painful Consequences Help You Make Different Choices

Sometimes, the motivation that we receive doesn’t come from working towards an idealized goal, like the body that we hope to develop. Instead it comes from real, physical pain.

When you work out, you push your body in certain ways. This can be with a cardio session, where you stress your lungs and heart, or a strength training session where you work your muscles. Either way, your body will be put under some stress and pressure.

If your bad habits effect the way your body is functioning (and most of them do!) than you will feel pain. The pain won’t be a good pain that comes with a sense of accomplishment. It will be a kind of pain that makes you feel weak and inefficient. It will cause you to take a second look at the choices you have been making and the habits that you have in place.

This pain can be an excellent motivator for change. If you can’t complete a hill sprint because your lungs are filled with tar, you will hack, cough, and feel like you are being punished. You will remember that pain and shame when you go to light up the next cigarette.