One of the most common issues people have when starting a new training program is sticking to it. Many of us start with the best intentions only to fall off our training cycle for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes we set our goals too high, can’t find the time, lose focus of why we are there, or we just plain run out of interest. I am going to list a few strategies you can use to help you stick to a training plan and see the results that you want to see.
The most important factor in exercise adherence is coming up with goals. Using both short term and long term goals is a great way to keep motivated and stick with your routine. Make your goals attainable! If you set very difficult goals you will likely become discouraged and fall off your training. A good way to program your goals is to set a long term goal first. This goal could be a few months out or a year out. The timing is ultimately up to you but choose a goal that is important to you and is achievable. Once you have your long term goal set then start implementing weekly goals that will help you to achieve your long term goal. For example, if you are training for a 5k that is two months out you can set weekly mileage goals and these mileage goals will ensure you will be ready for that 5k! Goal setting is a very powerful tool so sit down and think of some goals for yourself!
Now that we have thoroughly covered goal setting we can cover our next strategy for exercise adherence. This next strategy is to train with a small group or with a buddy. This is a good way to set accountability in your training and hopefully add a layer of enjoyment. If you can’t find a buddy to join you then personal training is always an option and it is likely to be more effective! Your gym may offer classes and that is also a great way to meet people that share your interests and encourage you to attend every class. If exercising with somebody else really isn’t your thing then you can try some exercise journaling. Write daily in your exercise log about what exercises you performed, what weights you used, and how the session felt. If you were supposed to train one day but didn’t you should still write in your journal for that day.
The next strategy sounds obvious but a lot of people lose sight of it. When you begin, make sure to engage in exercise that you enjoy! Just because you might be starting a new exercise routine doesn’t mean you have to fill it with your least favorite or hardest exercises. Start out with things that you enjoy whether it be cardio, resistance training, or balance and then let the rest fall into place as you progress. Think about your strengths and build off those first! It is easy to pick out areas we tend to struggle in and fixate on them and that can really drag you down. Think about what areas of fitness you are strongest in and enjoy the most and you will be well on your way to a program you enjoy.
Hopefully some of these tips can help you get a jumpstart on your fitness and form a healthy exercise routine. Start brainstorming some goals, reach out to friends, and most importantly have fun with your training!