Making resolutions is easy, but like most things in life, consistent follow through is what creates results and sustains positive change. People of all ages and abilities benefit from being more active. Here are some strategies to help you stick with your physical activity goals after New Year’s resolutions begin to fade and old habits resume.
Tap into what motivated you in the first place.
The health benefits of regular physical activity are too great to overlook. Regular activity may help lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. It’s a great way to deal with stress. And staying active can boost energy, mood, and overall wellbeing. Make a list of the benefits that matter most to you and keep it where you can review it often.
Set realistic goals and plan how you’ll meet them.
Keep it real by taking small, sustainable steps. For example, a plan to achieve the goal of being active on most days of the week may start with walking 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and gradually build up to 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Track your progress with a journal, website or mobile app.
Share your goals and plan.
Going public with friends and family members can give you a social support system and keep you on track when you feel tempted to quit. And you may find a workout buddy with similar goals.
Have a backup plan.
Be ready to go to “Plan B” when life happens! If you prefer to exercise outdoors, find an indoor location like a mall or recreation center as an alternative in bad weather. Fit in some extra steps when work gets in the way of your workout. Or create an at-home workout for when you just can’t make it to the gym.
Understand that lapses and setbacks are normal.
The key is to not get discouraged. Just jump back in and try to learn from whatever got off you track. Real change takes time. Your efforts will pay off with patience and persistence.