You have decided to start an exercise program and that is great. Unfortunately, more than half of all people who start an exercise regimen quit within the first six months. It is not easy to develop a successful exercise program that you will stick with for the rest of your life. However, there are steps we can take to boost our enthusiasm and facilitate long-term adherence to the program. Specifically, these 15 behaviors will help you stick with an exercise program for years to come:
1. Set realistic goals. Make sure your expectations for your exercise program are reasonable.
2. Write down your goals and post them in a visible area. This provides you with a constant reminder of why you are exercising.
3. Share your goals with others. This allows your friends and family to cheer you on.
4. Constantly monitor your progress. Constant improvement is a great motivator.
5. Choose a convenient time and place for your workouts. You are much more likely to stick with your exercise program if it suits you.
6. Start out slow and build up your effort little by little. Simply put, don’t overdo it!
7. Keep your exercise sessions short. In most cases, 30 minutes is sufficient.
8. Choose a variety of exercises and activities to avoid boredom. Boredom is a common reason for abandoning an exercise program.
9. Combine exercise and family time. For example, walking, hiking, rollerblading, and biking offer the opportunity to combine exercise with family time.
10. Learn to exercise safely. Injuries and pain are common reasons for abandoning an exercise program.
11. Exercise at the same time every day. This will allow you to get into the habit of exercising at a certain time of day.
12. Keep an exercise diary. This gives you a picture of your progress, which can be a great motivator.
13. Schedule activities around your exercise sessions. Once you’ve identified the days and times that you will exercise each week, schedule your other activities around these times. This shows the importance of your exercise program in your life.
14. Don’t stress if you miss a workout. Missing an occasional workout is not a problem. In fact, it is to be expected. Go back to work the next day.
15. Make sure you have fun. Nobody gets attached to exercise unless they enjoy it. You can make sure you have fun by selecting activities that you really enjoy and exercising with other people.