The good news for avid gym goers is that you no longer have to park at the far end of the parking lot, find a new spot in kickboxing class or wait endlessly for your favorite machine. The bad news is the reason for all of this—many people have given up on their resolutions to regularly exercise or have found many reasons to stop. If you have fallen off the fitness bandwagon, it is not too late to get back on board.
Set a goal. Set a small goal each month or every week whether it is mastering a new exercise, completing a full set of perfect push ups or having the courage to take that really tough class. By having small, yet attainable goals, you will have a reason to not only start again, but to keep going in order to accomplish that goal.
Identify why you stopped. Once you realize the reason you stopped exercising, you will be better equipped to solve the problem. For instance, if you kept scheduling things during your workout time, try scheduling them around that time as much as possible.
Put exercise on your calendar. If you carve out a specific time each day to exercise (preferably the same time each day), you are more likely to stick to it since it will be incorporated as a regular part of your day.
Remind yourself what you liked about exercise. Surely there was some aspect of exercise that you liked whether it was a favorite class, the way you felt afterwards or the camaraderie you felt with others who were right alongside with you. Thinking about the positives of exercise may motivate you to get back to it.
Bring a friend. Sometimes you need someone with similar goals to help you with yours. Find a friend who also wants to start exercising or one that already does and set a time to meet each day to work out together. Having someone to exercise with is another way of being held accountable. Plus, you never want to stand up a friend—especially one who is trying to help you.
Reward yourself. Who says hard work should not be rewarded? Treat yourself to something special but only if you stay on course. Knowing that you have something to look forward to will be your motivation to stay on track.
Punish yourself. With rewards come punishments. Tell yourself that if you do not exercise a certain amount of times per week, you will have to give up something that you love whether it is a piece of dark chocolate after dinner or your favorite flavored latte.
Make others hold you accountable. Let a friend or relative know what your plans are with regards to exercise and then have them call, e-mail, text and harass you as much as possible to remind you of your renewed commitment to exercise.
Keep a journal. Quite often, writing things down is a great way to remind us of what we are thinking at a certain time and/or place. Keep a log of your workouts including what you did, how long you did it, how you felt afterwards and any other pertinent information. Read it before bed as a reminder of what you accomplished that day and how you want that momentum to continue.
Hire a trainer. Perhaps you fell off the bandwagon because you were unsure of what you should or should not be doing. Hire a trainer for a few sessions so that he or she can provide you with a good foundation of what exercises are best for meeting your goals. The trainer can also correct you if you are performing certain exercises wrong or if you need modifications.
Reflect. Think about why you first started exercising in the first place. Did you want to lose weight, get stronger, improve your overall health or try something new? Is the reason still there or has something changed? If your health was important enough a few weeks or months ago, it should still be important.
Prove someone wrong. We all know people who try to bash our best efforts. Maybe your spouse tells you that you will never be able to do a pull up or your friends do not believe you can do a full minute of burpees without passing out. Show them who is boss by building up to these milestones and proving these naysayers wrong.
Do not get frustrated. Even the most committed people get derailed sometimes due to circumstances beyond their control. The trick is to get back on those rails as soon as possible rather than just throwing in the towel and giving up in disgust. Never let frustration be your undoing.
Life is unpredictable, but that does not mean it has to end all of your efforts to live a healthy life. By recognizing how and why you fell off the bandwagon and then taking the appropriate steps to get back on it, your second go-around will be more successful than your first—especially after you see an overall improvement in the way you look and feel!