Beginning and sticking to an exercise program can be quite challenging, in fact about 50% of those who start an exercise program drop out within 6 months. If you can manage to continue a fitness routine it can be very rewarding and can change your life. Setting realistic goals is a key factor to staying motivated. There are two types of goals that should be addressed, behavioral goals and outcome goals. An example of a behavioral goal is, “I am going to walk on the treadmill at 6 a.m. for 45 minutes, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.” An example of an outcome goal is, “I am going to lose 12 pounds in six weeks.” Focus on your behavioral goals as these are the goals you have control over and the outcome goals will follow. Re-evaluate your goals regularly and make changes when you realize something is not working.
Commit to your goals! Initially you may be extremely motivated but as time goes on this usually slacks off and you may find yourself contemplating quitting. Try these 7 tips to help you stay committed:
1. Establish a routine. Set a definite time and location where you will workout. Set an appointment with yourself and don’t break it.
2. A short workout is better than no workout. If you are short on time or just don’t feel like exercising, make it to the gym and do a shorter version. Many times you will end up doing a full workout.
3. Perform a variety of activities. Even something as little as changing the music you workout to will keep you motivated.
4. Plan your workouts in advance. Weekly and monthly schedules should be prepared. Change your resistance program every few weeks to alleviate boredom and shock your muscles, you will see gains in strength and size faster.
5. Find an exercise partner. Join a class, hire a personal trainer, or exercise with your family or a friend. Having a partner really is a lot of fun, just make sure you compare yourself to yourself not to others.
6. List your goals on paper and post them where you will see them everyday.
7. Monitor your progress. Weigh yourself weekly, take measurements and body fat every 3 months. Regular tests will measure the progress of your program.
Reaching your goals is the most motivating factor in continuing on your fitness journey. The sense of accomplishment will give you the strength to move forward and keep that fire lit. Short term goals and long terms goals should be set, if only long-term goals are set it can be overwhelming. Starting an exercise regime is the hardest part of the program so if you started you have already reached your first goal. Following these tips can help you adhere to your exercise program so keep them handy for days when motivation takes a dip.