The idea of working out is nothing new to most people. Heck, most of us have tried to get into some sort of workout rhythm from time to time. The problem typically doesn’t lie in the startup end of the deal though. It’s the keeping up with the new workout until it becomes a habit that can be elusive.
If you’ve struggled to keep up a workout routine in the past, here are few tips to help you settle into an effective, sustainable fitness regimen for the foreseeable future.
Start With Baby Steps
The most important part of a long-term workout routine is finding a way to ease into things. You don’t want to start too intense, or you’ll just end up hurting yourself and falling off the bandwagon a week into your new routine.
Instead, consider where you want to end up and then look for small ways that you can begin working toward that endpoint.
Build Your Workout Into Other Routines
Along with starting small, it’s a good idea to build your workout into other routines. This will mesh your desire to consistently work out right into the fabric of your daily life.
For instance, if you already have a good morning routine, see if there’s room to squeeze a jog in. If you have an after-work routine, try working a trip to the gym into the mix.
Whatever the specifics, look for ways to incorporate your workout routine into your other recurring activities. It will help exercising become a consistent and predictable part of each day.
Educate Yourself … Regularly
Education is key. If you do the same exact thing for the same exact reasons with every workout, it’s going to become dry and boring over time. On top of that, as you meet your goals or your various health-related workout reasons, you’ll lose interest and likely move on to something else.
Instead, take the time to invest in your workouts. If you’re new to the fitness scene, look into how much time you should work out every day or week. If you’re new to health and fitness in general, consider looking for a community health educator at a local community center or public health department to help give you some pointers. They’re educated to help you form goals and plans for managing your health.
If you’re trying to use your workout to accomplish something like losing weight, focus your research on that area. Actually spend time reading up on how to utilize nutrition along with exercise for your weight management efforts. Finding weight-loss-friendly foods and making sure you’re eating healthy will only make your workouts that much more effective.
If you can make learning a part of your fitness journey, it will fuel your desire to stick with your routine over the long haul.
The keyword here is goals — plural. Everyone sets a goal when they start working out. You might want to get into shape or get your blood pressure under control.
The key to setting goals, though, is that they have to be SMART. In other words, you want to create goals that are:
This means you shouldn’t shoot for the moon with your initial goals. Instead, remember to keep that baby step mentality in mind. However, it also means you have to reassess at times. As you achieve your goals, set new ones that push you even further (yet are still within reason).
Goals are an excellent way to help you stay on track over the long term.
Find Metrics To Track
You can’t make progress if you don’t define what that progress is. Always make sure to set clear and definitive metrics that you can track as you go along.
This can be something as simple as weight loss. However, it can also include things like calories burned, lower cholesterol numbers, or even total time spent working out.
By setting a specific metric to follow and then keeping a journal or other record as you go along, you can stay focused and on track over time.
Finally, never underestimate the power of accountability. Having someone who you know will check in on you is a great way to avoid slipping into a rut with your new routine.
An accountability partner can take many forms. It could be a fitness instructor or a friend or a family member. Ideally, though, you want to find someone who you trust and who shares your passions, vision, and goals. When that happens, you can both serve as the accountability partner for each other.
Creating A Sustainable Workout Routine
There are many reasons to work out. However, even the most compelling causes can still fizzle under the sheer weight of time itself.
If you want a new workout routine to stick, you have to invest in it. Start small and work your way up. Set goals and educate yourself as you go along. Find metrics to track and get an accountability partner.
If you can do that, you’ll be putting yourself in the best possible position to stick to your new routine long after you start seeing results.