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6 Tips for Getting Back on the Exercise Grind

“Have you fallen off your fitness goals for 2017? Don't worry, all you need is a little motivation.”

Did you commit to exercising more in 2017? How’s it going so far? Making good progress? If so, congratulations! But if you’re like some of us who haven’t seen the inside of a gym since the first week of January, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

Many of us start off with good intentions, but more than 40% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Creating new habits is hard work - especially when they involve exercise and physical health.

The good news? It’s totally possible to commit to a fitness routine that works for your lifestyle. Here are our top 6 tips to help you get started.

#1: Set Small, Realistic Goals

Long term goals can seem overwhelming. Instead, break them down into smaller, more realistic milestones. Working towards these milestones will help keep you focused. Plus, you’ll feel amazing once you complete them! The key is to build momentum and make slow but steady progress.

When you’re setting your goals, make sure to keep them realistic. What are you actually able to commit to? Set yourself up for success. If you’re not a morning person, don’t make it your goal to be up for sunrise yoga. Play to your strengths and hit the evening class instead. It’s okay if your goals are small. The smaller they are, the more likely you are to actually do them!

woman in exercise clothes gets ready to climb stairs

Slow and steady wins the race! Setting small, realistic goals helps you build the momentum you need to meet your fitness goals.

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#2: Prioritize Health Over Results

Repeat after me: it’s not about weight loss. Focusing on the number on the scale is the quickest way to lose your motivation. It also doesn’t help get you results. Try to focus on your overall health instead. This includes getting regular healthcare checkups, keeping up with your dental care, and tending to your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

It also includes getting adequate nutrition. Select foods that support your fitness goals and boost your immune system. Don’t worry - eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of ways to save money on groceries so you can afford to get the nutrition you need.

women gets checkup by physical therapist

Stop watching the scale! Prioritize health over results in order to meet your fitness goals

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#3: Make a Game Plan

As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

You can’t just fall back on your old habits and expect things to magically change. Take a careful look at your past behaviors. Why did you fall off the fitness wagon before? Is there anything you can change? Remove from your schedule? Add in or do differently?

Once you look at your behaviors, it’s time to make a game plan. Make sure you are choosing fitness activities that you actually enjoy doing, not just the ones that burn the most calories. If you enjoy your routine, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. Be creative with your fitness. Research new activities and classes to prevent boredom.

Finalize your plans by writing them down. Schedule your workouts and treat them like an important commitment you would never break. And keep it simple. Don’t over commit yourself. Make sure your workout plan fits into your schedule in a complementary way that makes you excited instead of stressing you out.

albert einstein insanity quote

The No. 1 rule to a fitness game plan? Be flexible: if it's not working, try something new.

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#4: Create Accountability

Accountability is key to success. Tell someone about your goals, post about them online, or sign up for a marathon or fitness event. Do something to create accountability and hold yourself responsible to your goals.

Working out with a friend or family member is a fun way to make this happen. You're less likely to cancel your gym session if you know a friend is counting on you to show up. Personal trainers are perfect for this, too. Investing time and money into your goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Who wants to see all that money go to waste?

Keeping an exercise log to track your progress is another useful tip. It helps to see how far you’ve come. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated, and it serves as a constant reminder of your next workout.

three senior friends rest after exercising

When it comes to getting back on the #fitness grind, accountability is the key to success.

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#5: Reward Yourself

Now for the fun part: once you’ve hit your short-term goals or milestones, reward yourself! Indulge in something special for coming so far and sticking to your plan. Treat yourself, you deserve it!

Extra points if you reward yourself with things that complement your fitness goals. Buy yourself some new workout clothes or invest in a cool new piece of equipment. (Pssst - worried about spending money? Our Savings Plans can help with that!) It’ll feel like a special treat and help you stay on track with your new fitness regimen.

woman celebrates meeting her fitness goal

Celebrating the smallest of accomplishments can help motivate you to meet your fitness goals.

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#6: Evaluate Your Goals Frequently

Check in with yourself to see how you’re doing with your goals. Are you on track? Is there anything you need to change? Are you still having fun? Remember, your goals are not set in stone. It’s okay to switch things up if something isn’t working. Your fitness goals should enhance your life, not stress you out. Keep making adjustments until you find a routine that works for you.

If you’re still struggling, cut yourself some slack. This is hard work. You’re changing years of programming and mental patterns. It’s okay that it’s taking some time. Be proud of yourself that you have these goals in the first place. Smile, you’re doing a great job!

girl checks her fitbit to see how she's doing on her goals

Track your fitness goals frequently and don't be afraid to make adjustments.

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Falling off the fitness wagon can be frustrating, especially when you desperately want to make changes. But by setting small goals, prioritizing health, making a game plan, creating accountability, rewarding yourself and evaluating your progress, you can get back on the grind in no time. Remember, having a fitness routine you’re excited about is totally possible. These tips can help you get there!

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