As we all know far too well, it’s very easy to be inspired to make a vow to in some way improve our future, whether through starting a new hobby, losing weight, reading more, cooking healthy, or any number of other things we know would improve our overall well-being. Starting can be easy too – but when it comes to continuing a resolution after the novelty has worn off, many of us are far from, well, resolute.
Luckily, there’s plenty of research out there that can help us stick to our guns, whatever our goal, along with many tools and apps available to keep us on track. Plenty of this research has shown that those who plan succeed, whereas those who don’t have a much harder time reaching their goals…or ultimately plan their way to success in the end, after several false starts. We’ve listed some of our favorite advice, tips, and strategies to help you along the road to success.
Stop thinking in terms of motivation, and start thinking of making exercise a habit.
The most common complaint that many have when starting a new workout plan is finding the motivation to get up and go to the gym after (or before) a long day of work or when they’d prefer to sleep in, go out, or indulge in any number of other distractions.
In reality, if you wait for motivation to hit in order to start a workout, you could be waiting a very long time! Motivation got you to start, but habit will keep you going. Once something is simply a part of your day, whether or not you LOVE doing it (that can come later…read on), it’s much simpler to knock it off your to-do list for the day. Do you need to be motivated to brush your teeth? Chances are, no; and believe it or not, with the right planning, exercising could feel the same way. Which brings us to…
Positive Reinforcement and Accountability.
If you hate your workout, it’s time for an exercise makeover. While, as mentioned, you don’t necessarily need to look forward to your workout like you might a concert or dinner out with friends, it should be enjoyable enough to get you to the gym without a lot of hemming and hawing. Why run for cardio if you find it boring? If you love music and dancing, enroll in Zumba or another, similarly-themed class. Dread lifting weights? Try Pilates reformer, which strengthens and tones without the heavy lifting. Or, in reverse, don’t feel challenged and crave more of a “burn”? Look into an HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class. Or switch it up, according to how you feel that day.
If you love your workout but can’t seem to make it a habit, try looking for accountability in the form of a gym buddy. Don’t have any interested friends, can’t coordinate schedules, or simply enjoy your alone time? Facebook and other social platforms, such as Reddit, often have local or long-distance fitness groups that allow you to hook up with those who are in the same situation as you, and report to them about your activities.
Measure your success.
Inspiration can come in many forms, including from your own efforts to document your success. Seeing that you have already accomplished something – whether one day, one week, or one month of sticking to your workout or diet plan – can work wonders as far as encouragement to continue goes.
Documenting your progress through apps such as FitBit, MyFitnessPal, FitStar, Lose It! Or others can give you the boost you need in times of serious temptation to skip out on a planned workout or over-indulge at mealtime. One look back through weeks of hard work can remind you that not only CAN you do it – you already did!
Do you have a special method, trick, or piece of advice that worked in helping you stick to a plan? Leave it in the comments!