14 January 2013

Staying Motivated

10 Tips for Sticking With Your Fitness Routine

I know I'm ahead of things, since it isn't Tuesday yet, but I won't be able to post tomorrow, and I wanted to share my thoughts about this week's topic.

I used to be a person who made fitness one of my New Year's resolution from time to time.  And usually by the end of January, I'd bagged the whole idea, and that was that.  Then, I was suddenly having major surgery twice in 5 months!  And spending a lot of time in physical therapy to recover.  Guess what? Not only did exercise help me recover from surgery, but it made me feel better, look better, and get so used to exercising, that I missed it when I didn't do it.

Over the years, I've stuck with it, though not always as dedicatedly, but as long as I'm still doing something actively, I think it's good.  So when this week's Ten on Tuesday topic was about sticking with your fitness routine, I decided to share.  Like most things, this may not work for you, but maybe there will be something here to make you give fitness a try.

1.  Tell someone your plan, or even better - post it on your blog!  If you are accountable to someone other than just yourself, you may be less likely to slack off.

2.  Set realistic goals.  So often, this is where I would fail.  But I've learned the hard way, that even if realistic doesn't sound life-changing, it may mean you'll actually do it.  For instance, due to our vacation and the holidays, I got a little bit carried away with my eating.  Rather than feel like nothing is worth it, I've decided to aim to lose 2 pounds a month.  That's not only realistic, it's even below the level of one pound a week that most doctors will recommend when you start trying to be fit.

3.  Reward yourself.  When I hit a goal, I treat myself with something small, but desired.  It can be anything, sometimes for me even a treat in the form of food - a couple of cookies, a bowl of ice cream.  Small amounts, but only if I've kept my promises to myself.

4.  Do something you LIKE TO DO.  I enjoy certain things at the gym or at home, but I also love to walk, and ride my bicycle.  Sometimes I just want to be left alone to do my thing.

5.  Make time for fitness.  I never ever used to be a morning person.  But after the aforementioned surgeries, when I would be awakened at 5:00 a.m. every morning when the doctors and medical students would be making their rounds, my internal clock reset itself.  So I got into the habit of getting up early every day, and exercising for about half an hour before anything else.  I usually manage about 3 times a week, and if nothing else, my walk with Dug gets me up and out early.

6.  Join a gym if you want to, or like group classes.  True, some gyms are ridiculously expensive, but often you can find a more reasonable one, and some allow you to take group classes for a slightly raised fee for non-members, even if you don't join up otherwise.

7.  Make yourself do it regularly for at least a month.  I know it sounds crazy, but once you get into the habit of it, it's a whole lot easier to stick to the plan.

8.   Find out if you can count on your spouse or a friend to join you, or at a minimum, be your cheerleader.  Encouraging words make a big difference.

9.  Look in the mirror.  It doesn't take long to look better.  And I don't mean look thinner, I mean look better.  More awake, healthier, and more comfortable in your body.

10.  If all else fails, make yourself walk someplace at least once a week.  Maybe around the block for half an hour.  Maybe up a couple of flights at work.  Or if you live someplace where it's possible to do so, take your walking shoes and take a walk at lunchtime during the workday.  I often walk for 1/2 hour.  Fifteen minutes, then I turn around and walk the way back, another fifteen minutes.  Then I still have half an hour for lunch.  Even this little bit can make a difference.

Remember though - if it all makes you so miserable that you only set yourself up for failure, you may need more than just suggestions to help you get healthier.

Good luck!


Mereknits said...

Fantastic advice, I'd like to add one more, walk your dog! That gets me out and moving.

Kathleen Dames said...

I just rejoined the campus gym so I can run on the track (pavement is not kind to my shins). Hoping to get over there 2-3 times a week and then start doing some yoga at home on my off days, since the classes are always full (and full of college students). Thanks for the extra motivation!

Kym said...

What a great list! And . . . good for you for making a permanent change to your lifestyle!

Donna said...

Look in the mirror! Isn't that the truth. It's the most obvious, but I totally forgot about it. I like setting realistic goals too. 2 pounds a month is totally doable.

Anonymous said...

I agree - the look in the mirror is a great tip, and one that people seem to forget. Thanks for the reminder!


KnitNana said...

Great advice! Looking in the mirror helps me, as does checking in on those "skinny" clothes that suddenly seem a bit tighter than normal...

Beverly said...

The "like what you do" tip is so important!

Lorraine said...

Bridget- Yup- I'm on board with everything you said.

At some point, we have to realize (speaking for myself here) that a 25" waist won't ever happen again.

Carrie K said...

I really need to take this advice. My physical therapy IS a 30 minute walk a day! And I haven't done it in weeks.