Keeping Your Commitment to Fitness: From Short-Term Program to Lifestyle

Having a hard time staying focused on a fitness routine?  You are not alone!  A huge percentage of people embrace a new exercise programs with their best intentions at heart, and then they drop out of it within the first 6 months. Competing work and family schedules, fatigue, etc….get in the way and discourage us from staying motivated and on track.   The good news is that if we can find a way to stay on a program for 6 months, chances are that by then the program has begun to deliver  its amazing fitness benefits and these benefits  will keep you motivated enough to cross over from engaging in a “program” to taking on a “lifestyle” of fitness. 

So what steps can we take to stay “on the path” during  those first 6 months?

-          Evaluate your intentions:  Yes, for many of us achieving our ideal weight is our primary and motivating goal.  If we achieve our weight loss goals within say…three months (likely for many with proper diet and exercise), we might then be inclined to drop off from our “program”. If on the other hand we view exercise as a path toward long term health, that will help us strengthen our immune system to ward off disease, and stay energetic and mobile for years to come, then our motivating element has a longer “shelf-life”, and can help us commit to fitness as a lifestyle.

-          Link your fitness routine to a group:  Go somewhere to work out where you share common  ground with other people that are committed to fitness.    There is much power in community and the social aspect of working out. Working out becomes more pleasant and something to look forward to when you have friends that are meeting you. The social aspect also helps you get out of your head and your daily work routine mind, and come to a see working out as your place for fun and your “departure” from your daily grind.

-          Keep it simple and accessible:  Find an exercise program that does not require huge investment in time, effort or tools.  Find a studio or space that is easy for you to get to.

-          Be formally committed: either by agreeing verbally or in writing to pay for classes, or committing to a specific friend or group formally.  Commitment ensures a “no way out” ticket to success.

-          Choose an exercise program that is achievable:  Choose to do an activity or sport that allows you to experience demonstrated progress within weeks.  If you feel that you can do it, and that it’s making you faster, stronger, more agile, etc….you are more likely to be motivated to keep it up.

-          Choose exercise activities that are enjoyable and varied: Find something that you like doing and then find a few more things that you like too. This will make exercise more enjoyable and the variety will keep bordom at bay.

-          Observe and track your progress: Along with your weight loss success, track your health gains:  strength, flexibility, energy.  Recognizing the incremental rewards of your efforts will help you stay focused and on task.For most, the New Year is a time to start fresh on goals and set new standards for ourselves.  If fitness is one of your goals for the New Year, use this checklist as a guide toward success.  Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Rachel Moncayo

Brookhaven Fitness Studio