Get Smart with Fitness
People are always asking me, “How do I get motivated to start exercising and stick with it?” My answer is usually the same: You already are motivated. You know it’s good for you and you believe it works. All you need is some organization and sensible goals.
Still not sure what to do? Check with your doctor before starting a new fitness plan and get going with these five tips:
Write it down. Buy a weekly calendar, or use what’s already handy and turn it into your own personal fitness coach. On Monday, set goals for the entire week. Write down the activity you’ll do, the time of day you’ll do it, how many minutes it will take, and where you’ll work out.
Keep it simple. Pick only one or two activities and save variety for later. Worried you’ll get bored? If you need a little inspiration, listen to music or books on tape, or pick a movie and allow yourself to watch it only while you’re on the treadmill or stationary bike.
Do it first. Exercise in the morning. That way, it won’t hang over you all day. Morning typically has fewer distractions. But don’t trust your groggy self to decide if you’ll exercise when the alarm goes off. Prepare the night before by laying out your exercise clothes next to your bed-or, if you must, sleep in them. Then all you need to do is roll out of bed, put on your exercise shoes, and go.
Take the pressure off. Don’t think too much about exercising-just do it, and let the details take care of themselves. One woman I know routinely did 20 minutes on her stationary bike, which she timed with an egg timer, but was nervous about setting it for 30. Her solution? She bought another timer, set the first one for 20 minutes, the second for 30, and let herself decide whether she’d keep going after the first timer went off. No kidding-the first time out she did the full 30 minutes, and after that it just got easier.
Do it for three months. Set your weekly goals every week for three months. After that, exercise (or any new activity) will start to feel like a habit-and that’s exactly what you’ve done: established a new fitness habit.
Remember: It’s always your decision to exercise. Decide to do it, list your weekly goals, and stick to your workout plan. Get set. Go!