In a post-workout endorphin rush, it’s easy to feel as though you could continue exercising every day for the rest of the year. Then comes the cool down, the next day workout dread, and that all too familiar sensation of falling off the exercise bandwagon.
With many New Year’s resolutions dedicated to becoming more fit, there’s no time like the present to learn how to create an exercise routine that you’ll actually want to stick with for the months to come.
Create a Plan
Planning a family road trip is made much easier with the aid of an itinerary: what you’re going to do each day and how long it’s going to take to get places. Look at your exercise routine the same way.
Consider the independent and team activities you want to do as part of your exercise routine, and schedule them into a calendar. Plan your exercises around times that are convenient, and realistic, for you — we don’t all have to be morning gym people. Plotting workouts mindfully will mean you’re less stressed to attend those activities and are more likely to stick with your routine.
Make sure your exercise routine contains plenty of variety so you don’t get bored. Try alternating between different types of activity, such as cardio, muscle strengthening, flexibility, and more.
Exercise with a Friend
It can be easy to slack off or skip exercise altogether if you’re working out by yourself. No one will know, right? This is why exercising with a friend can be a valuable way to stick with your routine. Not only will you be able to hold one another accountable when it comes to regular workouts, but medicine ball squats are a lot more enjoyable when you have someone to laugh about them with.
As a bonus, try incentivizing your workout. This could mean you and your friend get to grab a piping hot drink after an exercise class, or split a cookie at the lunch place down the road. Rewarding yourself for a job well done will go a long way in convincing you to stay with your routine.
Make the Smallest Goal Possible
On some days the desire to sit around and not exercise can be inhibiting. That’s why it’s important to create the smallest workout goal possible. Sound counterintuitive? Here’s how it works: while your ambitious side may wish to run 5 miles three times a week, sticking with that goal may involve overcoming a lot of mental hurdles — ones that want you to continue staying inside and watching Netflix.
Rather than setting the five mile goal, try distilling it down to its smallest possible entity. For example, your goal could be, “I will put my running shoes on and go for a walk around the block three times a week.” While these two activities may sound like completely different things, consider this: sometimes the most difficult part about motivating yourself to go for a run is just lacing up your shoes and leaving the house. Once you’re out for your stroll, you’ll likely realize that the prospect of a run doesn’t seem that bad after all.
Even if each walk doesn’t turn into a run, at least you’ve gotten out of the house and started moving. Making and keeping this smallest possible goal will mean you’re not disappointed in yourself for failing to maintain a routine, and it can often lead to bigger and better workouts down the road.
Don’t think of working out as the same all-or-nothing activity that has to happen in solitary confinement each day. Change your attitude a bit with the suggestions above and you’ll find yourself with a workout routine that works in no time at all.