How to stick with your exercise plan

1.  Get a Buddy!:  If you don’t like to exercise, a good support system is key to success.  Find a friend to go to the gym with you or pick a time each day to go for a power walk together.  If the weather is bad, you can even meet at one another’s home and do an aerobics video together.  You can also consider taking an adult karate class or yoga class together.  Having a buddy will help you get out and exercise even when you don’t want to because you will make a vow to encourage one another along the way. 

2.  Reminisce:  If you have ever exercised before, remind yourself of how good it felt.  Most people claim that the times in their lives when they exercised was when they felt the best, physically and emotionally.  Use that as a motivator.

3.  Hire a Personal Trainer:  While this may be a more costly option, Personal training may be just what you need to stick with a plan.  A constant motivator and educator, a trainer will help you not only show up to the gym for an appointment, but also will help you maintain a program throughout the week.  A trainer can also get to know you as a person and gain insight as to what programs will work for you.

4.  Read a Self-Help Book:  While it may seem an odd suggestion, picking up a book by Anthony Robbins ,or someone like him, may just do the trick.  Anthony Robbins has made a living teaching people how to access their internal power and potential through re-programing the way you act and view life.  Having such information presented to you may help you re-evaluate yourself and create a new, more positive you.  This is turn will motivate you to strive for a better life and take better care of yourself.

5.  Be Selfish!:  For an hour or so out of everyday, you have the opportunity to be alone and do something just for yourself.  You can use this time to reflect on things, sort through feelings and thoughts, relax, or just enjoy your own company.  It may also be a good time to catch up on news or watch a favorite TV program and not feel like you are wasting your time.

6.  Make it Social:  Before I had kids and had a little more time to spend at the gym, I often enjoyed the camaraderie of the "regulars".  A gym is more than a place to exercise, but can also be a community of people who all try to better themselves through healthy living.  It’s nice to take a break when working out just to sit with friends and have a protein shake together.  After a while the gym becomes a social place to "hang-out" which will make you continue to want to be there.

7.  MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC:  I must confess, I CAN NOT exercise without music.  It is impossible.  I have even on 1 or 2 occasions shown up to the gym only to find that my Walkman was not in my bag or the batteries had died and I turned around and went home.  (really.)  Music is so powerful and the right music can really boost your energy and mood and is often necessary to complete a good, vigorous workout.  With MP3s and iPods, we now have thousands of songs we can put into tiny little devices and can enjoy a great music collection while exercising.

8.  Keep a "feelings" journal:  Huh???  Yes, a feelings journal.  Keep a journal where every hour or so you write down how you are feeling.  One word is fine (such as "tired", "excited", "nervous", "calm", "sad", "happy", or "confident".)  Compare the days you exercise with the days you don’t.  I guarantee you will notice a difference and the days you exercise will be much better than the ones you don’t.

9.  Finally, make it fun!:   Remember if you find the right activity or change your activities often, exercise can be fun.  Just make it that way!

About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

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