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If you are committing to exercise more this year, here’s how to stay motivated to do so.
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Coming up with a fitness plan is easy. You’re excited, motivated and eager to customize a plan to fit your interests, fitness level and time constraints. But sticking to that plan for the long term is different than making a plan – and it can be a challenge.

While the first few days of working out can be invigorating and fueled by motivation, that initial excitement tends to wane as time goes on, making it harder to stick to a plan long enough to reach your fitness goals. If you often fall off the fitness bandwagon, know that you are not alone. Data suggests only 19% of people who make resolutions like committing to a fitness plan stick with them for two years or more.

But just because the odds are stacked against you doesn’t mean you can’t beat them. Here are 7 tips to keep you motivated enough to make fitness a long-term commitment:

  1. Don’t think of fitness as all-or-nothing. You may have an idea of how you think your fitness journey will go. But life gets in the way and not everything goes according to plan. Remember that if you skip one yoga sesh or miss a week of workouts, you don’t need to throw in the towel. Fitness should be a long term commitment and a few off days won’t make or break the end game.
  2. Focus on small wins. Meeting goals can be very motivating, but goals aren’t reached overnight and it can get frustrating when they take long to achieve. So instead of only focusing on big-picture goals, break your journey into smaller milestones. Each small win should be celebrated and will provide you with motivation to keep moving forward.
  3. Tell yourself you can do anything for five minutes. If you find your motivation waning, commit to moving for just 5 minutes. After all, you can do just about anything for that short amount of time. Set a timer if you must. If you need to stop after 5 minutes, know that you still did something good for yourself. But you’ll likely find that once you start, you’re willing to keep going.
  4. Remember your why. One helpful way to stay motivated is to remind yourself of why you want to get fit. Do you want to be a healthier parent? Lose weight? Avoid a potentially chronic health condition? Participate in a fitness event or beat a personal record? Whatever the reasons may be that got you started on your fitness journey, thinking of them when you don’t feel like working out can get you moving again.
  5. Find a workout buddy. Being accountable to someone other than yourself can keep you from skipping your exercise sesh when you’re not feeling it. Find someone else who has similar goals and commit to helping each other move forward together.
  6. Pay for your workouts. Why would paying for something make you more likely to stick with it? Because if you don’t show up, you’re not just cheating yourself out of the benefits you would’ve gotten by exercising but you’re also wasting your money. So whether you enlist a personal trainer, sign up for a group fitness class or buy new workout equipment, paying to workout makes you more committed to sticking with it.
  7. Don’t compare yourself to others. You may feel like there’s always someone stronger, faster or more flexible than you are. But remember that everyone had to start somewhere and work up to where they are today. Also keep in mind that what others can do has no bearing on you personally – the only thing that matters is what you can do. Focus on your own successes and goals and you’ll stay more committed to your fitness journey.

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Date Last Reviewed: November 12, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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