Personal Well-Being

How to Create a New Exercise Routine You'll Actually Enjoy

Written by guest author Lou Ryan, founder and CEO of SelfHelpWorks

Wherever you are on your wellness journey, it’s never too late to set some new fitness goals. Here a few tips that will make it a little easier to develop a routine that sticks.

Pick exercises you like to do.

If you force yourself into doing exercises and routines you absolutely loathe, you’ll only strengthen your disdain for exercise and workouts altogether. This kind of thinking will likely cause you to abandon exercise as a whole. Instead, give yourself time and opportunity to find exercises by taking a new class, or scheduling a beginners workout with a personal trainer. Then make the exercises you actually enjoy the staple of your workouts.

Team up!

Having an exercise buddy can boost your enthusiasm and make the more tedious parts of your routines more interesting. A partner can be there to offer support, compassion, as well as help pass the time with conversation and jokes. An exercise buddy can even encourage you to do an extra couple minutes on the bike, and hold you accountable to just show up, even when you might not want to.

Start slow.

Don’t take on more than you can handle, especially in the beginning stages of working out. If we've learned anything from failed or forgotten New Year's resolutions, most people wind up dropping their goals within a couple weeks. Why? It might be because they can’t realistically keep up with the idealistic ambition they began with.

If exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life for a while, try to ease your way back into it. If you overdo it, you’ll burn out quickly and feel intimidated by the thought of “having to go back to that gym again.”

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the workout you've planned, consider creating shorter routines that can be done in segments. You can then add to your routine as you become stronger, healthier, and more habitual in your exercising.

Create goals and track progress.

One of the most effective ways to maintain motivation to exercise (and to do anything, really) is to realize the benefits that you’re getting by doing it.

When you start out, keep in mind the reasons you want to exercise. Visualize yourself receiving the benefits of exercise, whatever they are for you. If you want to get back on the basketball court with your buddies, then see yourself running up and down the court. If you want to lose weight for the summer, see yourself on the beach in a swimsuit, in shape and proud of yourself.

Keep a record of your workouts and time you workout each day. Also, keep a record of the changes you notice in yourself; whether it's something visible like weight loss, or just how much better you’re feeling.

Lastly, set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Don’t be overcritical of yourself if you don’t achieve all of them on time. Keep trying, and your new actions will become ingrained, positive habits.

Stick with it.

Many people don’t “love” exercise, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Learning to make physical activity and exercise a regular habit in your life can be achieved by breaking down your excuses, planning ahead, visualizing success, and holding yourself accountable.

Want more information on how to create an exercise routine that works for you? Need help getting motivated to be more physically active? Check out LivingFit by SelfHelpWorks, an online course that's available on many Bravo employee portals.

Log in to your company portal to sign up for the course, or learn more about how SelfHelpWorks can work for your organization and empower your employees on this webinar or by contacting Bravo for a demo.

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