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Sticking to Your Fitness Goals

Sticking to your fitness goals is actually really hard. How many times you schedule yourself to attend a gym class and did not show up?

Or may be, you joined a gym, made the effort to go for a couple of weeks and then life started to get hectic and you never went there anymore?

This is a very common scenario and it happens a lot, to a lot of people. Sticking with your goals requires a few tricks to keep you moving, focused and motivated.

1. Create and keep the workout habit.

We are creatures of habits. Creating a habit is a key part of sticking to your goal of being fit and healthy. When we just start, we have that sudden momentum that fuels ourselves. You know you can do it, you get engaged and you are sure you will succeed. But after a period of time, "something" always happens. Your child got sick and you miss the gym time, your work is overwhelming and you need to stay longer hours, you got the flu... "something" happens and throw you totally off track. Well, getting back is the hardest part.

Here are some suggestions to help you get back on track:

  • Just go back. Do not restart with intense workouts to make up for the lost time. Just focus on going back to the gym consistently and feel successful for just showing up.
  • Call a friend to workout with you. When you are going back it helps to go with a friend. It keeps you motivated not to miss your workout time.
  • Make an appointment with a personal trainer. Even if you only go one time, this might be just the push you need to restart the habit of working out.

2. Set daily goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them.

Long term goals although very useful are bigger and take longer to accomplish. Make or select a fitness plan, assign to your calendar and check it off every day. And after meeting your daily goals, do something nice for yourself like a walk in the park, or listening to your favorite song, meditate or whatever you like to do.

3. Find a role model that inspires you.

I started exercising again when I read a story of a 75 year old great-grandmother who started exercising to be able to carry her cat food from the supermarket to her home without asking for help. I thought if she can do it, I can do it too. So anytime you are pondering to skip the gym, think about the person who inspires you.

4. One step at a time.

Don't start exercising by choosing the hardest routine to do. Start by doing something you like and can do. Walking, running, swimming are activities most of us can do. But even if you are bed/chair-bound or have an issue that does not allow you to perform any of those activities, still, exercise. Joseph Pilates started by helping World War I disabled patients to exercise in their beds. So no matter what issues, you can always do some physical activity. The main goal is to start by doing things you can and like and continue gradually pushing yourself more and more.

Staying on track with your exercise program requires more motivation than physical work. It means making a commitment with you and keeping it. Periodically check in with yourself to see how you're doing, how the routine is working and making whatever changes necessary to keep you moving and motivated to continue. It means finding inspiration wherever you can and being willing to try new ideas if the old ones aren't working. Most of all, it means not giving up.

Adapted by Editorial Staff, February 17, 2006
Last update, July 2008


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