The path to fitness is paved with good intentions. Ok, maybe not, but how many times have you said to yourself “I want to workout more.” and then not done it? Or maybe you used to go, and fell off the bandwagon. How do you actually stick to a workout schedule? I’ve gathered 9 tips that I find help me stick with the plan for the long term, and I hope will help you too!
1. Find something you actually enjoy doing
This is by far the best way to keep yourself motivated to keep going back again and again. If you really hate running on a treadmill, you’re going to try to come up with any excuse not to go. If you don’t know what you like to do yet, ask your friends and family where they go, and then go try it with them. Look for places that offer a trial class, or even better a trial week. And don’t give up. Chances are you’ll find lots of things you don’t enjoy… but stick with it until you find the thing you LOVE!
2. Get a workout buddy
Having an accountability buddy is probably one of the best motivators to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make a commitment to meet to workout on a certain night, and then keep your date! You’re much more likely to show up to something if you know someone’s expecting you to be there.
Side note on this… make sure your workout buddy will hold you accountable. This doesn’t work if you can easily talk them out of going all the time.
3. Put it in your schedule
For the organized among us, the simple act of putting something in our planner can spell success. Whether you use a paper planner, or a digital one, write out what days and times you are planning on exercising. Not only will this create some commitment to actually going, but it helps keep other things from filling that time and preventing you from working out.
4. Use an app
Many fitness studios use a scheduling app like MindBody, or something similar. You can often check in online or on your phone. You are much more likely to show up when you’ve actually committed to it. Be sure to check your studio’s cancellation policy. Some will still charge you for the class, even if you don’t show. (Added incentive to actually go!)
Another idea for you list addicts is to download a habit tracker app. If checking things off of a list, or seeing how many times you’ve completed something, is totally your jam, this might be for you!
5. Make it a priority
Put working out at the top of your to-do list. Don’t wait until you’re done grading papers or after you’ve cleaned the kitchen. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and never get around to working out, especially if you workout at home. If you set aside even a short amount of time to work out first you’re much more likely to actually do it.
6. Bribe yourself
This is my preferred method (and proof that I’m just like my students…) If I want to get ANYTHING done, I have to bribe myself with some sort of reward. I try to avoid using food as a reward, but I will very often use Netflix. I can’t watch the next episode of the show I’ve been binge-watching until I go workout. Maybe you choose a longer-term goal (if you complete so many workouts in a set period of time, you will buy the shoes you’ve been eyeing… or whatever). You have to find what works best for you.
7. Find a place to belong
As great as a gym or working out at home can be, sometimes there’s nothing like a place where everyone knows your name. It can help motivate you if your yoga instructor says “We missed you last Monday.” Committing to a smaller “boutique” studio not only supports local business, but creates a personal connection that can help keep you coming back.
8. Ramp up slowly
If you’re a teacher, you’re most likely familiar with “scaffolding”. We don’t give students the hardest math problem right away, we create easy, achievable steps to help them eventually reach the end goal. The same principle holds true in fitness. Don’t expect to go straight from coach potato to working out 5 nights a week. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set small achievable goals like walking for 15 minutes a day, or going to yoga one day a week. Trust me, working out is addicting. You’ll find yourself adding on in no time.
9. Don’t derail completely
You are going to fail at this… say it with me “I am going to fail.” Inspirational, huh? Now, before you hit “Unsubscribe”, let me finish. Life happens. We are all human. Our schedules get busy, or we have days when we just don’t feel like working out. It’s better to acknowledge up front that there will come a time when you will get off track. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve failed completely, so don’t let it derail you completely. Just get back up and try again. We expect it of our students, so why not ourselves? Now say the whole phrase with me “I am going to fail… but that doesn’t mean I have to give up!”