How to Make Sticking to an Exercise Program Work

Getting motivated at the start of a new exercise or weight loss plan is usually easy. Staying motivated when exercise is becoming a “grind” is truly where your long-term success lies.

Getting motivated at the start of a new exercise or weight loss plan is usually fairly easy. You decide that there are a few changes that you want to make in your life and set out achieving them. Staying motivated when exercise is becoming a “grind” or if your results have slowed down, is truly where the key to your long-term success lies.  Here are a few tips to ensure offsetting exercise boredom and to making your workouts efficient, effective, and enjoyable again!

Partner Up. Get back on track with your significant other or a friend. This can be beneficial for many reasons. One reason is accountability; when you know someone is counting on you for support or motivation then you will be more inclined to not skip your workout. This can add up to 1000s of extra calories burned annually. Studies show that people work out harder and longer in small groups (think of how much more fun it is to do an hour of cardio with a friend than alone). In addition, there is an instinctive competitive nature in each us and this will aid in getting more work done in less time.

Set Goals. Goal Setting is probably the single most important motivation tool you can use. Most of us set goals in a grand, long-term fashion. A favorite saying is “you can’t lose 50 pounds without losing one pound first!” Having a grand, long-term goal is important but medium, short and mini goals are just as important, if not more important. A great goal is minimizing weight gain over a weekend splurge. For example, if you generally gain 2.5 pounds on a weekend, but set a goal and attain no weight gain, you are inching closer to your ultimate goal. For medium term goals try this: If your goal is to lose 50 pounds in a year then set a goal for a five-pound loss in one month. By setting smaller goals we can attain them quicker. This will allow us to stay in a positive mindset and remain motivated! Writing down these weekly goals will reinforce them in your mind and help you hold yourself accountable. Therefore, it will be easier to follow through on them.

Make a Plan. “There is no random in success!” Regardless of the arena–business, personal or weight loss–the most successful people are the ones who have a plan.  Scheduling exercise (and meals) should be a part of your day just as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. Plan your week to attend as many of your favorite group exercise classes as possible and for when you know some friends will be at the gym.  When you plan for success and begin to commit to a process, that process eventually becomes a new, positive habit. Coincidentally, the increase in your consistency will act as motivation.

Add Variation. Many people get “stuck in a rut” with their exercise. Your body is an adaptive machine and the more times you do something, the better you get at doing it. Though this may sound like a good thing, for weight loss and/or strength increase it is actually detrimental. The more efficient you become at specific exercises, the less work it takes for the body to do, thus decreasing calorie expenditure and/or need for a strength increase. Variety is an essential component to consistent results.  Challenge yourself to learn one or two new exercises every time you visit the gym. This will aid you in keeping your workouts fresh and focused. If you are new to exercise be sure to ask a personal trainer for help to ensure you safety when picking the best exercise for you.

Measure Your Success! Not by the scale! Weight loss is a slow and steady process. To truly achieve and maintain your ideal or goal weight it realistically could take months to a year. You must find alternate methods to measure your successes that are not scale related. Pick some non-gym goals and keep track of how your exercise plan helps you increase your ability to succeed in multiple ways. Examples can be cutting strokes off of your golf game, running and chasing your children without becoming winded or carrying object(s) (laundry) upstairs.

Reward Your Success. Give yourself nonfood rewards. For example, buy yourself new clothes in smaller sizes or sign up for a massage. You will soon realize that rewarding yourself with food is not necessary and oftentimes not as enjoyable as a lasting reward.

Relax. Own the Process. A major contributor to individuals losing their motivation is that they are hurried and in a rush. Losing weight, improving your fitness level, changing habits and living a different life is a time consuming process. When you not only understand the logic of this, but also own the emotional side of this situation you will ease the pressure you are placing on yourself for "quick success" and be more proactive rather than reactive. When you own that weight loss is a long process then you own that you can control only so much of the total pace that you lose weight and change your life.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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