1. Know your Reasons
Think about why you want to exercise and write down every reason you can think of. Explain in full detail what working out is going to do for your life and your health. And reread your list whenever your motivation needs a boost.
2. Set Daily and Weekly Goals
Although it's good to think big, don't just set yourself a long-term goal because it can seem too distant from where you are now. If you have a daily or weekly challenge then you have something to achieve and motivate you right here, right now. Make sure your goals are just a little bit stretching - doing too much too soon is a prime cause of injury and exercise drop-out.
3. Track Your Progress
Keep a log of all your workouts. It's amazing how quickly your fitness will improve and seeing your progress in black and white will help spur you on to keep going. Even in the early days when the going is tough and you might not have noticed any changes in your body and fitness levels an activity log gives you something to be proud of.
4. Plan to Succeed
You have to set aside time for working out and schedule it as if it's an appointment that can't be missed. Block out the time in your calendar and treat it like a doctor's appointment. Your health depends on it just as much.
5. Do Something Daily
Once you've got an exercise program going it helps if you do something active every day just so that you keep your mind focused on your goals. You probably don't have time to fit in a workout every day but any activity is fine - walking, dancing, housework, gardening - just something that keeps your mind and body in exercise mode.
6. Have a Plan B
The path towards fitness doesn't always run smoothly. Be flexible if muscle strain or extra work pressure prevents you from doing your usual routine. Try going to the gym before work or plan a different activity which does not affect your injured muscle to keep going when life gets in the way.
7. Don't Ask Whether Ask When
Consider working out as an important element of your life and make it part of your routine. Don't even get into a conversation with yourself about whether you'll exercise today, just make plans and do it. No matter how much you don't feel like working out, you'll be amazed how good you'll feel once you get going.
8. Find a Workout Buddy
Look for a workout partner with similar goals and level of fitness to make exercise more enjoyable and add a little healthy competition. Plus, you'll find it's harder to skip a workout if someone is relying on you. If you don't have a friend who wants to get fit, consider investing in a personal trainer to keep you motivated.
9. Make it Fun
Prevent boredom by trying new activities and using a variety of ways of working out. Just because it's fun doesn't mean you won't get fit. How about trying salsa-dancing, scuba-diving, skiing or roller-blading? Even something as simple a adding intervals to your usual routine can give you a new level of interest.
10. Believe You Can
You'll be healthier, fitter and change your whole body shape if you stick at your exercise program. Change is possible for you just as it has been for so many others before you who have transformed themselves with exercise. Acknowledge that you can experience those results for yourself just by keeping going with your fitness program. You can do it, you really can!
Copyright 2006, Janice Elizabeth Small