"Beginning, or getting back to, an exercise routine requires more than just scheduling your workouts and joining a gym," says personal trainer Janet Kroon.
"Sticking with your goals requires a few mental tricks to help keep you moving, focused and motivated."
It's all in your head
When it comes to mind-talk and denial about our bodies, we're usually our own worst enemies. Kroon offers the following tips for sticking to an exercise routine:
- Take a photo of your problem areas and start working on them by doing exercises that tone that part of the body or to lose unwanted flab. Take another photo in two weeks' time and note the difference exercise can make. This is a big motivator and will keep you committed to your exercise routine.
- Find a workout partner. You'll be more accountable for your routine if it's fun. Becoming answerable to a friend will give you more reason to keep going.
- Give yourself manageable goals and work towards them. Don't be too hard on yourself when you've made a mistake. Rather try harder next time.
- Make a point of being positive with every goal you reach. Reward yourself, even if it's for drinking your necessary water intake. Remember to not reward yourself with food.
- Start again. If you succumb to temptation and miss a few exercise sessions, forgive yourself. Remember, you are human, so give yourself a little leeway.
Don't become a statistic
"Half of the people who begin an exercise routine drop out after six months," says Kroon. Keep this in mind:
- Exercise in the morning. Research shows that people who exercise in the morning are the most consistent with their routines. It's also better for creating prolonged energy.
- Vary your workouts. Doing the same workout each time will leave you bored and dissatisfied.
- Find a diversion. If you really don't enjoy exercising, try listening to music or reading a magazine to help keep you moving.
- Hire a personal trainer. Personal trainers can help you diversify your routines. Because they cost money, you're also more like to be accountable to your personal trainer and the routine that set out for you.