At the beginning of January, we start out strong with all our well-intentioned resolutions, especially when it comes to exercise routines. By February, however, it’s often a different story. Follow these 8 strategies, and you'll be good to go in 2018!
As Business Insider notes, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. And self-improvement resolutions—eat better, lose weight, exercise more—tend to be at the top of the “failed” list.
So how can you avoid being one of the 80 percent, especially when it comes to exercise? Here are eight strategies for staying on track.
1. Get an exercise buddy. Accountability is a beautiful thing. When you have plans to meet a friend for that Group Power class, you’re much more likely to go because you don’t want to blow off your buddy. Even better? Working out with a friend can also improve your performance.
2. Work with a personal trainer. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. If you have an appointment with a personal trainer, you’re much more likely to show up.
3. Give yourself reasonable goals. If you’re struggling to run one mile on Day One, setting a goal of running ten by the end of that month probably isn’t reasonable. If you make that your goal, you’ll likely end up disappointed/frustrated with yourself by the end of the month (if not before). Instead, focus on short-term goals.
4. Give yourself rewards when you reach short-term goals. You know yourself best. Think of a reward that will help motivate you. Maybe it’s a mani-pedi, a shopping excursion, an extra episode of your favorite show on Netflix—you get the idea. The key, especially during January and February, is to keep the rewards coming until the exercise routines truly become a habit.
5. Plan for (and celebrate) rest days. It’s easy to think you’ll hit the ground running, literally, on Day One, and that you’re going to work out every single day. But that’s not realistic or the best strategy for your health. Shape magazine provides nine reasons why occasionally skipping that workout is perfectly OK. Bottom line: plan rest days into your month—and enjoy them.
6. Monitor how you feel and adjust accordingly. Are you dreading going to the gym or exercise class you signed up for? Are you bored out of your mind? Are you in pain? Exercise isn’t supposed to be this Big Bad Thing. Exercise celebrates our bodies and all the amazing things they can do (e.g. jump, run, spin, lift, etc.).
Sure, everyone has days when they don’t feel like exercising. But if you’re feeling that way more often than not, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing (and possibly time to do something else). Try a different class. Try a different time of day. Try working with a trainer who can help make sure you’re doing the movements correctly. Try a different gym (download our FREE 5-day pass to Jersey Strong right now).
7. Make it less formal. We’re obviously big fans of gyms, exercise classes, and personal training—and we believe Jersey Strong is the cream of the fitness club crop. But we know gyms aren’t for everyone. If the thought of getting up and going to the gym every day makes your stomach turn, yet you love doing that power walk every morning with your BFF, well, keep doing that. Figure out the exercise routines that work for you and your life and keep doing them.
8. Forgive yourself if you slip up. So you missed a few days. (OK, maybe even more than a few.) Here’s the thing about exercise: it’s always there and available to you. Sure, you might need to work back up to the level where you left off, but that’s the thing: you CAN work back up to it—and surpass it.
So forgive yourself if you fall down. Just be sure to pick yourself back up again. Remember, January is only one month. There are eleven more waiting for you. Go get ‘em!