That energy and drive can last for a few weeks, but before you're even a full month into your program, you might notice your motivation waning. Next thing you know you've quit going to the gym altogether and are seeking refuge on the couch.
Looks like it's time to reassess how you approach personal fitness. Use these ten tips to help make exercise a daily, lasting habit.
Wake Early1 of 11
You might not be an early riser, but if you're looking to stay on track with your fitness routine, setting your alarm an hour earlier could make a massive difference.
Research has shown that people who exercise in the morning tend to stick to their workout programs longer. Early-morning exercise in the fasted state (i.e. before eating) has also been shown to be more potent than the same amount of exercise in the fed state.
Need some extra help getting out of bed? Plan your outfit the night before and get a heart-pumping playlist ready.
Find Your Focus2 of 11
It's important to actually enjoy what you're doing—if exercise starts to feel like a chore, it's only a matter of time until you fall off course.
Look for activities that mirror your interests. Like to dance? Consider Zumba. Looking to get out some pent-up aggression? Check out a kickboxing course. Trying to get in tune with the outdoors and find your inner Zen? Make nature hikes a regular part of your routine.
Find a Buddy3 of 11
When it comes to fitness, there's strength in numbers.
Studies have found that working out with a partner can improve performance in aerobic exercise. You'll also have someone to hold you accountable and give you a boost of motivation when things get tough—and you'll have a built-in spotter.
Favor Convenience4 of 11
Choose a gym that's close to your home or a park that's easily accessible. Your good intentions will play out more successfully when being active feels less like a chore.
Longer commutes in general have been linked to increased weight, bigger waistlines and poorer heart and lung health. According to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, people who traveled 10 miles to work were more likely to have high blood pressure while those commuting 15 miles or more had a greater risk of being obese and exercise-deprived.
We're not saying to choose your profession based on your home location, but if you can control some factors—like your gym—why wouldn't you?
Hire a Trainer5 of 11
Having a bit of money on the line, and knowing that you're going to have your body fat checked regularly by a professional, can add some accountability and positive pressure when you need it most. Working out with a trainer can also help ensure you're practicing proper form and, therefore, reducing your risk of injury.
Set Varied Goals6 of 11
Sure, you might want to lose a few pounds, but make sure your goals aren't related solely to your physique. Having varied goals helps eliminate the risk of allowing one thing to derail your progress.
Maybe the scale hasn't budged, but your performance goals have improved. Lifting heavier, running faster or successfully completing your first pull-up are all measurable goals that signify progress. When it comes to goals, don't restrict yourself to one concrete achievement.
Change Up Your Surroundings7 of 11
Training indoors gets old, especially when the weather starts to warm up. Keep your routine fresh by changing your surroundings every few weeks. Being around different scenery—and different people—can help daily fitness feel less monotonous.
Track Your Schedule and Achievements8 of 11
It might sound trivial, but putting pen to paper could help make fitness stick. A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91 percent of adults who planned the when and where of their workouts beforehand exercised at least once a week compared to just 38 percent of those who hadn't planned ahead.
Knowing your fitness stats—like highest weight you've lifted or best mile time—can also help. Not only will you cut back on fiddling with what dumbbell to grab or what pace to aim for, but you'll also be able to see how far you've come in just a quick glance. This will be a welcome boost of motivation on the days your willpower is waning.
Make Fitness Fun9 of 11
From fun runs to mud races, signing up for an obstacle course can help you stay on track with your training. Having specific dates logged that you need to train for, and aspects you're looking to improve, such as speed, strength or agility, can help you add a real-world aspect to fitness.
Need more of a reason to lace up? Give extra meaning to your fitness journey by signing up for a charity walk, bike or run. Not only will you be staying on track with your goal to get up and moving, but you'll be doing it for a good cause.
Consider Nutrition10 of 11
You might be familiar with the saying, "You can't out-exercise a poor diet."
As it turns out, trading in soda for water won't only impact your waistline, it can also influence your habits over time. A Stanford University study found that people who adopted a healthy diet and training plan together were more likely to stick with both habits than those who focused only on one goal. So eat clean, train dirty and reap the results.