When you have a new fitness program, getting started is often the hardest part. But that’s the end of the story! Once you get started, you will run into challenges to your plan along the way. It’s completely normal and if you know that from the start, you can prepare for it. I want to help you get ready for those challenges with 5 simple ways you can stick with fitness goals and make it a habit!
1. Know Your WHY
This is a good tip for so many areas of your life – knowing why you are doing something helps you keep going when things get tough. This is very true in when it comes to your fitness goals. Dig deep to determine why your goals are important to you – and you probably want to go beyond just how you look.
Here are some thoughts to consider as you think through your own why. Regular exercise has a number of benefits, including lower cholesterol, easing depression and anxiety, Outside of these health benefits, exercise also helps you control your weight (with appropriate nutrition), gives you the strength and confidence for active adventures (like travel, snow sports, hiking, etc), and sets an amazing example for the kids in your life!
I recommend you take a few minutes to grab a sheet of paper and start writing down why your fitness is important to you.
It’s really hard to make a change completely on your own, so make it easier to reach your fitness goal by enlisting help! Tell your friends & family what you are doing and ask them for help. Join a group fitness program or work individually with a coach to add expert guidance & accountability to your plan.
“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Stephen Covey
Having an accountability plan means that you have support ready when you need it. Even better if your “support team” will ask about your workouts – to make sure you’re still moving in the right direction. I also love social media for this purpose, as you can share your goal and progress along the way! You can join the free FITaspire facebook community, where we share weekly goals to help stay on track.
3. Challenge yourself
Let’s get a little tactical now and talk about the workouts themselves. There’s a delicate balance between workouts that are challenging enough to help you progress, but not too much that it leads to injury or burnout. When you’re just starting out, your motivation may be so high that you want to do a lot and see results as quick as possible. Be careful that your training is a gradual progression and not a leap of faith.
If you’re new to workouts, start with just 3 days a week of movements that you can master with good form. Once you have been completing those workouts consistently for 1-2 months, you can increase the difficulty level of the movements and add an additional day.
At the same time, if you’ve been consistently working out for months, choose a plan that does present a reasonable challenge to help you stay motivated and continue seeing results! Choose a goal that will keep you motivated to continue improving. You may work toward mastering pullups, sign up for a triathlon, or train for a new 5K personal record. Having that goal at the end helps keep you honest about the effort you are putting in to get there!
4. Measure Your Progress
Another key to stay motivated is to see the results of your work. Sometimes progress is hard to see objectively for yourself, so tracking key metrics helps you to see results more clearly.
>> Related post: How to Measure Progress in Training
If your fitness goals are related to fat loss and body composition, consider taking progress photos and measurements every 2-4 weeks. When you see yourself every day, you miss the progress that is more evident by comparing photos or inches regularly. You can also track the weights you are lifting in the gym to see the difference in the amount you can lift over time for the same exercise!
If your goals are related to endurance training (running or triathlon), I recommend regular benchmark testing to track your progress. If you enjoy racing, schedule races throughout the season and year to test your performance. For triathletes, you should also plan regular swim pace tests and bike FTP tests to both measure and adjust your training paces for best results.
5. Schedule the time
When you have a meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment on your calendar, you probably plan your schedule around those events. The same should be true for your workouts. When you add your training plan to your calendar and commit to keeping that appointment with yourself, you are improving the chances you will get it done. Make time to review your schedule over the weekend and block out time on your calendar for the workouts you will do. You might even block off time for prepping lunch the night before, if nutrition is part of your program.
Once you have the time blocked off, remember that this is your commitment to yourself. You wouldn’t skip out on a meeting with your boss or doctor – so don’t skip out on a meeting with yourself. You are important!!
I have one more tip that is pretty important as you work on making fitness a habit for the long-term. This is something that I see many people forget and give up on their goals.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Remember that you are not perfect. In fact no one is perfect! Even coaches and trainers have times that they make choices that don’t align with their goals. So when you miss a few workouts, remember that you aren’t alone. And you haven’t failed!
So next time you are frustrated with missed workouts or a bad weekend of meals, remember that you are human. Your results come from consistent actions over time – not one bad (or one good!) decision. So focus on being consistent, doing the workouts most of the time. Making the right nutrition choices most of the time. And when you make a mistake, acknowledge it…plan for how you will handle the situation differently next time… and get back on track!