The hardest part of an exercise program is not getting started; it is continuing to do it on a regular basis. It is easy to let other responsibilities take over or to skip a few days and get out of the habit.
Ten Ways To Stay Motivated
Make a contract. Whether or not it is written down, signed or witnessed, make a deal with yourself to see this through. A personal journey to a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. Thinking about what you want for yourself can help you remember where you want to go.
Get support. You might be more motivated to continue if you let others know of your plan to exercise on a regular basis. Your family and friends can be valuable resources to help you to stay motivated. Find a buddy to exercise with-the family dog can be a great exercise partner.
Remember the benefits. Mobility, strength, flexibility and stamina will all increase, self-esteem will improve, and the incidence of preventable diseases will be reduced, leading to an overall better quality of life. While exercising, picture something you enjoy doing that will be easier with stronger muscles or better endurance.
Schedule it. Don't wait for "left over" time to squeeze in an exercise session-it might never get done. Add exercise to your daily routine and you will have more energy for the day-to-day activities you need to get done. Keep a reminder where you can see it. Make exercise as much of a priority as eating-everyone finds time for that!
Set goals. General goals can include weight loss, increased overall strength and flexibility, increased endurance or stamina, or increased muscle mass. Set smaller goals so you do not get overwhelmed. Having a goal in mind makes it easier to continue to exercise on a regular basis.
Keep yourself on track. Set a plan for starting an exercise and then gradually increase the time or distance of the activity, or keep the same time/distance and pick up the pace a little. For example, walk 15 minutes this week and 17 minutes next week; swim 8 laps today and increase to 9 laps next time; walk in the pool 10 minutes and increase from there; use 1 lb weights and increase the number of repetitions. Just remember, everyone has a different pace and you should exercise at your tolerance so it does not become overwhelming.
Vary your routine. Use a treadmill indoors on some days or walk in the mall, and walk outside on other days. Use a community pool for walking in the water or doing water exercises once in a while. Move your exercise bicycle to a different room to change your view. Try a new piece of exercise equipment at the health club. Vary your walking route regularly. Don't let boredom be an excuse to quit
Use diversions. Walk with a neighbor or friend. Listen to your favorite music on a Walkman. Watch television when exercising indoors. The time will pass more quickly with something or someone to distract you.
Chart your progress. Keep track of your daily activity program, jotting down just a few notes about your workout. The refrigerator is a good place to keep your exercise log. It can be quite satisfying to look back and see far you've come. But remember, even continuing to exercise on a regular basis without progressing is a great achievement in itself.
Reward yourself. This is the most important step of all. Exercising regularly is hard work and sometimes does not seem rewarding on its own. A new CD, a movie, a good book, or some uninterrupted time doing something you enjoy, are all great ways to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and to keep you coming back for more.
Block #6 Activity
At your next visit with the physical therapist we will be discussing your activity goals or plans for the future.
Using the worksheet found HERE, please list your 4 goals for the next few months. Also list what might make each goal hard for you to achieve and what you can do to help overcome those difficulties.