Ask the Expert

ask the expert january

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Resolution to Exercise

You’ve made the commitment to exercise more in the new year. You might actually have made that commitment over the last several years. But after a few weeks (or maybe days), something comes up that seems more important. Sleep, work, family, friends, checking apps, watching TV — you name it. And then you miss a few days, and a few more, and suddenly the resolution is gone.

Even if you understand that exercise will improve your mood, help you maintain a healthy body weight, and lower your risk for a host of health problems, it can be hard to turn your good intentions into action and keep your new year’s resolution.

These five tips might give you a little extra incentive – a different kind of motivation – to keep that new year’s resolution:

1. Find a support system

One of the greatest indicators of exercise success may have more to do with the people around you than the fitness goals you make for yourself. Surround yourself with people who’ll encourage you to keep working out even when you’re feeling unmotivated. Find an accountability partner or friend who inspires you, especially on the hard days. The bonds you form with a workout buddy will help motivate you to stick to your exercise routine.

2. Think positive

Want to make exercise more enjoyable? Start with some positive thinking. Exercise isn’t easy, but there are some wonderful benefits you’ll love and start noticing once you engage in a consistent exercise regimen. Maybe you love the time you get to spend outside in the fresh air. Or perhaps you enjoy the relationship you’ve created chatting with your friend after spin class. Focus on the good things and recognize the positive when you find yourself lacking motivation.

3. Make a commitment

No goal is accomplished without personal commitment. Write down your goals and put them in a place where you’ll see them frequently. Make sure your goals are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, reaching, and time-bound. Some people find it effective to create and sign a personal contract with themselves to reinforce their commitment. Once you do that, share your commitment with friends and loved ones.

Set up some rules you’ll follow if you don’t live up to your personal commitment. For example, if you skip a day of cardio, maybe your rule is you don’t allow yourself to watch TV until you’ve made up your cardio session. Whatever it is, push yourself toward your goals and hold yourself accountable.

4. Celebrate small successes

It’s important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Sometimes simply feeling better isn’t enough motivation to exercise consistently. Recognizing small achievements and having small rewards may help boost your motivation.

These small successes will help you eventually reach your big goals. As you celebrate your successes and achieve your goals reward yourself, maybe you’ll get a healthy smoothie with friends afterward, take a long lunch, or let yourself read a book when you’d normally be doing something less enjoyable.

5. Select comfortable workout clothes

If you think the clothes you wear while working out don’t matter, you may be wrong. Wearing proper clothing will not only make working out more comfortable, it’ll also reinforce to yourself that you’re someone who takes time to work out. In a lot of cases, just putting on your exercise clothes may be enough to motivate you. If you want to work out in the mornings, wearing your workout clothing as pajamas might help motivate you to get out of bed and get going.

Exercise can be challenging but knowing how to motivate yourself will help you maintain the healthy lifestyle changes you’ve adopted even when you don’t feel like it. The health benefits and how you’ll feel and look over time will be well worth it.

If you have questions about setting healthy weight goals and keeping them, join Intermountain Healthcare experts on Tuesday, January 9, for KUTV and Intermountain Healthcare’s Ask the Expert. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day on Channel 2, with exercise therapists, dietitians, and other medical experts providing interviews throughout the day.

If you have questions, a panel of experts will answer phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #kutvasktheexpert.