Get a prize!
When you reach an important goal – or a significant step along the way – reward yourself with a small (ideally healthful) treat.
Don’t give up
If you miss a few workouts – even a month’s worth – don’t give up. Most people fall off the fitness wagon at some point, so just hop back on and don’t look back.
Trainers often recommend keeping a workout journal that details, for instance, when you exercise, how long, what you do and how you’re feeling at the time. It’s a good way to assess your progress and motivate yourself to achieve more.
Join the group
If sweating solo on the treadmill or bike just isn’t your style, try a fitness class. Many people prefer the camaraderie and structure of group exercise.
If you’ve got a stack of papers to read through, go ahead and catch up on your work while you log a few miles on the treadmill. You may not get the most taxing workout, but you’ll still get heart-healthy benefits — and stay afloat at work, too.
Avoid fitness ruts
Doing the same fitness activities in the same way all the time can lead to a fitness plateau, boredom and even injury. Try to mix things up during the week by incorporating different activities to challenge your body.
Start a new family tradition
Get up and get moving after dinner. Take a family walk or bike ride. Even engage in Wii workouts. The point is to get in some exercise and have family time together.
Can’t afford a personal trainer? Split the cost with a friend or two. It’s called “small group personal training” and it has become more common.
Think like a winner
Champion athletes believe in themselves, even when others don’t. So think positively and stick with your program.
Participate in a new sport
Bored with the same old fitness routine? Try squash, basketball or another new sport. You’ll challenge your body in new ways and maybe even make some new fitness friends, too.
Stop making excuses
You’re too tired. It’s too cold outside. You can’t find your favorite blue-striped workout shorts. It’s easy to come up with excuses to avoid exercise. Don’t fall into that trap.
Seize the moment
Elevator or stairs? Drive or walk (or bike)? Take advantage of opportunities to move, even for a few minutes, throughout your day.
Take a look at your diet
You can consume calories much faster than you can burn them through exercise. So remember that working out doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want.
Take in the scenery
No, we aren’t talking about the hottie on the next treadmill. We mean the great outdoors. As you’re biking or hiking, take your mind off that never-ending hill by enjoying the trees, birds and fresh air.
Squeeze in mini workouts
If it’s a crazy day and you know you won’t have time for a full workout, try to squeeze in one or two mini workouts. Do some calisthenics in the conference room, climb a few flights of stairs or plan a walking meeting outdoors.
You’re more likely to succeed in a fitness plan if you have the support of family and friends, experts say. So why not encourage everyone to get on board and join in?
Even if you belong to a gym, it’s a good idea to have some inexpensive gear for your home, too. A couple of workout DVDs and some hand and leg weights, for instance, can come in handy when a trip to the gym just isn’t happening.
Make a fitness date
Not spending enough time on your relationship or your workout program? Then why not pass up the calorie-laden dinner and dessert and plan a fitness date with your partner instead? It’s cheaper and healthier.
Break for lunch…
…and get moving. Go to the gym for a quick workout or go for a long walk outdoors. You’ll feel more refreshed afterward.
Take note of how much better you feel after a workout. Stress reduction is one more benefit from exercise – and another good reason to stick with it.
Count all the ways …
… that exercise is good for you. When you need motivation to get moving, remember how exercise helps keep your heart healthy and your weight in check, fights diabetes and dementia, promotes better sleep and more.
Enjoy exercise (just try!)
Fitness shouldn’t feel like a form of torture. It can even be fun, really. Chase the kids around the park. Join a cycling club. Sign up yourself and a friend for tennis lessons.
Lift more than the remote
As you watch your favorite TV shows, you could also be doing some leg lifts, squats or stretches. Remember, all exercise helps.
Get in good form
Don’t know the difference between circuit training and interval training? If you’re new to fitness equipment, ask a trainer at the gym to show you the ropes.
Get a good deal
If you’re planning to join a gym this year, do your homework. Check out a few options close to home or work. Be sure to ask about deals and specials that could lower your costs. Sign-up fees, for instance, may be negotiable.
Move to the music
It’s no secret that the right tunes can really motivate you to move. So download some upbeat music to your iPod and get in a workout groove.
Adjust your alarm clock
You may hate it when the buzzer goes off an hour earlier, but exercising in the morning can energize you for the day. Plus, it’s known to be one successful strategy for sticking with a fitness program.
Adjust your attitude
If exercise isn’t a priority, it’s not likely to happen. So change your way of thinking and schedule exercise appointments -- just like you do for your other business.
Be realistic about weight loss
Experts advise losing no more than one to two pounds a week. And that takes a lot of work in the diet and fitness departments. So don’t be disappointed if you aren’t looking like a centerfold by Valentine’s Day.
Set the right pace
If you’ve been a career couch potato, it’s not reasonable – or safe – to start off a fitness program going full speed ahead. A good way to begin is by walking for five minutes, then 10, then eventually 15 and up.
Savor the season
Stop hating the snow and ice and start having some family fitness fun. Pack up your crew and go ice skating, sledding or skiing.