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Try These Strategies to Stay Motivated with New Year's Fitness Goals

January usually is the time of year when many people make a New Year’s resolution to get fit by exercising regularly. Did you know that updated fitness guidelines were released in November 2018?

January usually is the time of year when many people make a New Year’s resolution to get fit by exercising regularly. Did you know that updated fitness guidelines were released in November 2018?

Unfortunately, people may start a fitness program but then stop because they become bored or lose their motivation. In fact, research suggests just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Try some of these strategies adapted from the Mayo Clinic to help you stay motivated.

  • Keep it simple. Take tiny activity steps because it can add up to a big change in your behavior and way of thinking. For example, don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Choose a more realistic goal, such as exercising 20 minutes two to three times a week.
  • Give it time. Research indicates that three weeks of maintaining a new activity, such as daily stretching, are needed for it to become a habit. However, making a new routine become a permanent lifestyle can take much longer, perhaps six months or more.
  • Make it fun. Find an activity you like the most. Exercise does not have to take place in a gym. In the winter, try walking indoors, dancing or cross-country skiing.
  • Make physical activity part of your daily routine. Try to move naturally without having to think about it, such as taking the stairs at work.
  • Track your progress. Whether you track your improvements online or in a paper fitness journal, it helps keep you going. You can log brief daily entries into your daily planner or on one of the many fitness-tracking smartphone apps.
  • Find people, whether is it your family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors, who will encourage you to stay on track. Ask them to hold you accountable.
  • Reward yourself. Treat yourself with whatever you enjoy, such as a massage or tickets to a concert. Try to avoid decadent food rewards, though. Remember, by starting with small goals, you can collect victories and treat yourself each time you reach a milestone.
  • Be flexible; life happens. Get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t feel guilty.
  • Focus only on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Someone always will be someone faster, fitter or more flexible than you.
  • Break it up. If getting started seems overwhelming, you may want to do more mini-sessions during the day instead of one long workout.
  • Make it convenient. If time is an obstacle, use exercise videos instead of driving to a gym. If you are too tired to work out at the end of the day, try an early morning exercise routine.

Remember, physical activity is important for good health. Finding ways to make physical activity a regular part of our lives is worth the time and effort. See www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html for more information.

 

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D.

Filed under: fca newsletter, fitness

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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