How many times have you started an exercise program? Once? Twice? Six times? And how many times have you fizzled out within a matter of months? Once? Twice? Six times? Yeah, we know – we’ve been there, done that too. But exercise doesn’t really have the desired effect if you don’t stick with it over the long haul. So what’s the secret? Actually there are a number of tips that will help you to make exercise a habit.
Who’s Your Buddy?
For some people, the best way to stick with an exercise routine is to find a buddy to do it with. When I first started working out regularly at our local fitness center, my husband came along with me. We continued this routine for the first couple of years, and by then I couldn’t imagine life without daily exercise. The buddy approach works for a couple of reasons.
First, having company makes the workout more fun, which means it is more likely that you will actually want to head to the gym. Second, when you really don’t feel like you can work up the energy to lift a few weights and spend some time on the treadmill, your buddy can kick your unmentionables into gear. Accountability and fun are two important components in making exercise a habit.
Learn Something New
For other folks, enrolling in a fitness class is the way to go, especially if you have to shell out a registration fee up front. This cost combined with an instructor who will be looking for your smiling face is often sufficient motivation to keep going. You can sign up for a basic weight training class, aerobics or the ever popular spinning classes.
You can also find classes in Tai Bo, Tai Chi, and Tae Kwon Do that will make you sweat sufficiently. Now is the perfect time to learn a fitness discipline that you always thought sounded interesting but were afraid to try.
Make Goals, Indulge in Rewards
Some people like to work towards something, and goals will give you the precise incentive that you need to make exercise a habit. How much do you want to bench press? How many miles do you want to be able to walk? How much weight do you want to lose?
It can be a good idea to set big goals like, “I want to fit back into my little black dress by next New Year’s,” and then couple that with smaller goals like, “I want to lose one inch on my waist size or drop three pounds by the end of the month.” And when you reach a goal? Celebrate with those bling earrings that you have had your eye on, or a professional massage.
The really good news is that if you can stick with your exercise program for six months, your body will begin to see and feel the results of your efforts. And once you begin to look and feel better, you will be that much more motivated to hit the gym for a workout on a regular basis. Keep it up!