Summer is Coming - It's Time to Get in Shape
The key to success is staying motivated.
When summer's on its way, it's easy to say what's the point of getting into shape if you're not already there? Because summer is the best time to get into shape or maintain it, thanks to warm weather, more varied activities and abundant fresh produce. Having a hard time staying motivated?
According to reams of research, boredom is the number one reason people slack off in their exercise routines. Wouldn't it be great if you could make exercise something you not only did on a daily basis, but also something you looked forward to? It'll take some effort to shake up your exercise routine, but it's well worth it, as you're more likely to stick to it if you're interested and excited. Sign up for a fitness class you've never tried before. What about belly dancing or kayaking? The possibilities are endless.
You can also employ the buddy system. Here are two reasons this is effective: one is that people often will do for others what they won't do for themselves, and two, the competitive instinct. Find a buddy who has the same level of commitment and who will shore you up when you're feeling weak and vice versa. One caveat, however: Support is a good thing as long as your exercise program is not contingent upon the availability of another. Ultimately, your motivation must come from within. If you can't find a human buddy, some folks find a dog who's always ready to go for a walk or run extremely motivating.
Create a schedule so you can stick to it.
Schedule your workouts. Don't just promise yourself in your head that you'll work out. Put it in your calendar, just like you would an important business meeting. Treat exercise as you would any other serious commitment in your life.
If you can manage it, try scheduling your exercise first thing in the morning. Research shows that people who exercise immediately after waking tend to stick with working out longer and show more dramatic results. The second best time to exercise? Any time you'll do it consistently and stick with it. It'll take some effort to shake up your exercise routine, but it's well worth it.
Know what you want. Set personal exercise goals.
One great way to keep yourself accountable is to set goals and document your progress. Goal setting has made successes out of everyone from "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams to Microsoft's Bill Gates. Why should we mere mortals be any different? Research indicates that writing down goals and documenting progress on a chart or graph is great motivation to stick to any sort of program. A word of caution: Set small, incremental goals instead of one giant goal. That way you'll have many small successes instead of one potentially big, fat failure.
When you set goals, you can reward yourself. Not with a hot fudge sundae, but with healthy options, such as exercise apparel, new music or a massage. Concert tickets, a matinee or even promising yourself to sleep in are good alternatives.