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Resolution Resolve: 5 Tips to Help You Stick With Exercise This Year

January 19, 2024 Posted in: Blogs

It’s a new year, and—not for the first time—you resolve to exercise regularly. An admirable goal, but one that, like many people, you’ve struggled to stick to for more than a month or two in the past. So, what can you do to make this year different? Use proven tactics that can help turn exercise from an occasional occurrence into an everyday habit. 

1. Use Specificity to Set the Stage for Success

If you start out with a vague goal, such as “I want to exercise more,” you’re sabotaging your efforts before they get off the ground. Being specific about your resolution serves to clearly define it, which may help make it more attainable.

Think about what, specifically, you’d like regular exercise to look like for you and why you want to exercise more. For example, maybe you’d like to start running three times per week to build toward completing a 5K later in the year. Once you define your exercise resolution’s “what” and “why,” you can start thinking about the “how.”

2. Embrace Planning

No matter what specific exercise goal you set, be sure to clear it with your primary care physician, especially if you haven’t been physically active on a regular basis before. Consulting your physician to ensure your exercise goal is a good fit for your overall health will help you stay safe.

Once your primary care physician gives the green light, it’s time to make an exercise plan. Look at your weekly schedule and set time to exercise around your other commitments, such as before work, over your lunch break and in the evening. Scheduling exercise as you would any other appointment can help you commit.

3. Enlist an Accountability Ally

It’s no secret that you’re more motivated to exercise when you enjoy the activity. You can take your motivation to the next level by doing something fun and sharing it with pleasant company.

Schedule regular exercise get-togethers with your best friend, sibling, spouse, partner or work buddy. Exercising together presents an excellent opportunity to try something new, whether it’s a low-intensity sustained-state workout, such as light jogging, on a just-completed local trail—with mostly mild conditions, winter can be a great time to exercise outdoors in Houston—or a high-energy fitness class that’s always intrigued you. Either way, you won’t have to face the unfamiliar alone.

You’ll look forward to regular exercise meetups with your workout partner, which will keep you motivated. Perhaps best of all, staying accountable and not wanting to disappoint the other person can deepen your commitment to regular exercise.

4. Keep on Track

As the days and weeks pass, following your exercise progress in real-time—and, later, being able to look back and see how far you’ve come—can be a powerful motivator. That’s why it’s a great idea to track your progress.

A variety of great exercise-tracking options are available. You could, for example, keep an exercise journal in which you record the details of each day’s workout. Alternatively, you could use a wearable activity tracker, which may spur you to new exercise heights. According to a 2022 study, using one of these digital devices can boost physical activity equivalent to around 1,800 extra steps and 40 more minutes of walking per day.

5. Create a Personal Rewards Program

Your successes are worth celebrating—and may motivate you to pursue more.

When you achieve a meaningful milestone on the road to your overall exercise goal, reward yourself with a small treat, whether it’s buying a new piece of workout gear, enjoying a favorite snack or streaming an episode of a show on your watch list. These rewards will become something to look forward to, just like exercising itself. 

Talk with a provider about your health goals Schedule an appointment with a St. Luke’s Health primary care physician.

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