January is commonly associated with New Year’s resolutions set for the year with good intentions, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. However, many of us fail within the first month to keep these goals. Others may even feel if they haven’t started yet, it’s too late. You don’t need to start the first week in January, however you do need to start somewhere. But where do you start? Below are some practical tips to help get you started and keep you motivated.
- Go Gym Shopping – Before you make a financial commitment, ask for a tour of the facility or attend a drop in session with a friend. When you are there, ask about what comes with a membership to make the most of your hard-earned cash such as trial memberships, group classes, where the change rooms are, and pricing.
- Choose a Comfy Context – Many people may not feel ready yet to step into a public gym or simply do not have enough time, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make some real changes to get moving. Online platforms such as YouTube have a variety of styles and lengths of workout videos you can easily access. Find a spot in your home you can designate for exercise and place some reminder items there such as runners, exercise bands, a water bottle or a yoga mat. If you can visually see it, it is harder to forget about.
- Schedule for Success – Now that you have figured out “where” you plan on exercising, it is not enough to think about it to take action. Write it down! When do you realistically plan on exercising more? If you have trouble remembering, write it on a calendar and put it someplace you will see daily such as your fridge or in your bathroom. If that doesn’t work you can always set a reminder alarm on your phone.
- Buddy-up – Many of us are more likely to get through the front doors of a gym or workout facility if we have someone else to meet. This is a great way to find some motivation after those long days at work, as we are more likely to keep a standing appointment with someone else, rather than ourselves. If you cannot find a friend wanting to make changes with you, join a group exercise class atmosphere to start, where you can meet like-minded people.
- Purposely Plan – While having a gym buddy can be motivating enough in the short-term, for more long-term motivation try logging your workouts after you do them to see progress over time, and eventually you can start planning your workouts in advance. Buying a notebook for your workouts, or writing it into your day planner are low-tech ways to keep track of this. Otherwise there are some apps out there such as, MyFitnessPal where you can input your workouts electronically.
- Reward Yourself – Even with all of this planning we all still have some days where we “just don’t feel like it.” To help get that jumpstart try making a new workout playlist, buying a new workout outfit, or putting $2 into a jar every time you get moving for a treat at the end of the month!
- Make the Little Things Count – Every small change adds up. There are many ways to get moving such as: going for a walk at lunch with coworkers, getting up every commercial break when watching television, taking the stairs, setting up a step challenge with your friends/coworkers, walking to your community mailbox to get your mail, or getting your coffee “to go” and walking around the mall/outside instead of sitting.
- Go get gadgets – There are many personal tracking devices on the market that some may find motivating. Companies such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar all have a variety of watches at different price points. With these you can track the steps you take daily, log electronically your workouts, and some include suggested workouts with their associated apps.
- Reflect Realistically – Life is dynamic. Try to give your new plan a few weeks, but if something just isn’t working that’s okay. It is just time to re-evaluate. For example, if you find that getting up to work out before work isn’t achievable, when would be better? Or if the gym location you chose isn’t working, you can always look for a new one. This is about sustainable lifestyle changes and what may work for you at one point may change over time.
Remember, have fun and any movement/workout that was not there before, is better than none at all!