Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health long-term and the great news is it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. I know it can be hard to keep up the pace and stick to your plan once the initial excitement has worn off. Stop being hard on yourself and use these strategies to get back on track.
1. Set realistic goals. Be honest with yourself, if you are not into waking up at 6 a.m. to go for a jog five days a week, don’t make that a goal! Figure out what times and exercises work for you and begin there. Morning, afternoon, evening, biking, walking, yoga, it’s all great. What matters is that you set a goal that is achievable – this will keep up your motivation on those days when it’s more challenging to get going.
2. Do not wait until the weekend. I hear it all the time, I’ll just go for that hike on Sunday. If your weeks are super busy chances are you are equally scheduled out on the weekends or too exhausted to workout. Make it a point to schedule at least 2 exercise activities during the week to get started. Yeah, I hear that you are busy. We can all fit in a focused 30 minute session here and there. Stop thinking about it and get to it!
3. Get clear about your intentions. We all get tempted to slack off and that is okay. After a while it can wear us down and it’s helpful to have a list of why we want to exercise in the first place. Strong intentions are key when it comes to follow through. Write down your goals and keep them handy when you are having trouble staying motivated. Remember, consistent exercise over time has tremendous benefits for your long-term health—this is reason enough to stay active no matter what.
4. Have fun! Yes, exercise does not have to suck unless you want it to. Try something you have always wanted to but haven’t for whatever reason. Grab a friend and hit a dance class, take a tennis lesson, play kick ball in the park. If you don’t like your workouts chances are you will not stick to them. You are much more likely to keep up with exercising if you enjoy it.
5. Reward yourself. Reaching our goals is something to celebrate – especially regarding exercise! I know how difficult it can be to stay on track so treat yourself to something nice when you achieve a goal. I love my yoga clothes! When I reach new goals in my practice I purchase a new item. Maybe for you it’s getting a massage, eating a nice dinner or going to the movies. Rewards are great ways to take care of ourselves and reinforce positive behavior.
Sticking to your exercise plan can be fun if you are willing to keep an open mind and not take yourself too seriously. Learn to be flexible and don’t let falling off the exercise wagon be an excuse—get back up and keep going forward. With continued effort and practice exercise can become an enjoyable part of our lives—we can even look forward to it ;)
Take action now and write out your goals, set a schedule and get started.