It’s easy to say you’re going to work out. It’s much more difficult to 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.
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 go so far as to say they hate it. If you hate it you’re not going to do it. There’s no reason to torture yourself. There are many fun activities that are healthy too. The question to ask is what do you enjoy doing? Your answer – nothing!
I don’t like any exercise!
Why not do the easiest activity and an activity you do every day. Walking. Why not make it fun, put on those activity clothes, get your drinking bottle, get out there and WALK. It should be a brisk walk, not a stroll. Your heart rate should climb slightly. Please check with your doctor if this is safe. Exert yourself that little bit extra. Route out your walking plan, know where you are going to walk and for how long. This makes the whole routine easier, it takes the guesswork out. If you have a friend to walk with even better as you are accountable to someone else other than yourself.
Consider other forms of exercise:
- Walking on the treadmill at your local gym
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.
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 and you will give up a lot quicker as it is far too much too soon.
Instead, try to exercise for ten or fifteen minutes every other day to start with. 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.
Incorporate a healthy eating plan along with your exercise
Exercise is great, however, if you eating habits are out of control you will not be able to benefit as much from your exercise. This does not mean going on a diet and changing everything you do around food. It does mean cutting down on the sugars, fats, carbs and the amount you eat. Start eating off a smaller plate and do not go back for seconds. It all starts with baby steps, these then turn into bigger and bigger steps which leads you to losing weight, getting fit and feeling great. There is no need to go into great expense if you cannot afford it with trying to get down to your goal weight. This can easily be achieved on your own with help from friends and family.
As with many things in life, if we are accountable to someone else we will definitely get it done. Do the same with exercise and eating habits. Get your family or your best friend to do it with you. They make you get up for that walk in the morning or set a goal of doing that 5K fun run in three months’ time and hitting it. There is always that secret motivation for us to beat our friend or to lose more weight than your husband. It is human nature to be competitive, no matter how small.
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 and diet goals. For example, you can get a massage at the end of the week. You might purchase a new fitness outfit.
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? Get an app on your phone that counts your steps and make the goal of doing 10, 000 steps every day. This is a huge motivation!
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!