It’s easy to say you’re going to work out. It’s much more difficult to actually make it happen. Failed workout plans add up and eventually you give up. That New Year’s Resolution, despite your best intentions, is a bust. Here’s how to develop a realistic fitness plan you will stick with.
Step One: Identify fitness routines or programs you might enjoy
One of the biggest reasons people don’t stick with their fitness plan is because they don’t enjoy it. They may actually go so far as to say they hate it. If you hate it then you’re not going to do it. There’s no reason to torture yourself! There are many fun activities that are healthy too. Consider:
* Martial arts
Make a list of the fun activities you enjoy or might enjoy. Look around your community for opportunities to explore or add these activities to your day. For example, the community centers in my town offer classes for a small fee…it’s a good way to exercise and meet your neighbors.
Step Two: Find small bits of time in your schedule to exercise
The best way to make fitness a habit is to approach it realistically. Trying to exercise for an hour each day when you’ve never exercised before may be a bit too much. Instead, try to exercise for ten or fifteen minutes a day. Or if you’ve signed up for a class, then fit that class into your schedule once or twice a week. The other days, exercise for ten or fifteen minutes. Making exercise a daily habit makes it much easier to embrace permanently.
If you have small children, you might find that you have to get up extra early to fit in a workout. You might also be able to fit it in during naptime or after they go to bed at night. Taking them out for walks in the stroller is also a great way to exercise and give your kids some fresh air and a change of scenery.
Step Three: Celebrate your success
Sometimes it’s easier to stick with a plan if you have something to celebrate. For example, after a week of successfully working out each day you might reward yourself at the end of the week. Find a reward that’s motivating and still supports your overall fitness goals. For example, you can get a massage at the end of the week. You might purchase a new fitness outfit.
Step Four: Tracking your success
When you can see what you’ve accomplished it can be extremely motivating. You’ll be able to see the progress you’ve made. Track the workouts you’ve accomplished. Track the weight you’ve lost. Consider tracking your feelings about each workout too. For example, was it easy or hard? What level of exertion did you feel? How did you feel the next day or after the workout?
Developing a realistic fitness plan is about managing your expectations. It’s about finding something you enjoy. Track and celebrate your success. Acknowledge that every day may not be perfect or successful but over time you can and will succeed. To your success!