Can’t stick to a workout routine? Here’s why!

It’s no surprise that wanting to exercise more is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.

Most American adults don’t get enough exercise. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says adults should be getting 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and two days of strength-training exercise per week at a minimum.

No big deal, right? Actually, it can be.

Sticking to an exercise routine can be challenging, especially if you’re just getting started and trying to figure out how to juggle it all with work and family life.

So how do you actually stick to your resolution this time? Here are three ways to stick to your routine to reach your fitness goals this year:

  1. Make It Fun

Do you like doing chores? Probably not. Well, if working out is a “chore,” it’ll be much easier to make excuses not to do it, just like that load of laundry.

So, instead of making excuses, make your workout something you actually look forward to doing. Make it fun!

“The majority [of people] don’t feel excited,” Dr. Beth Frates, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medicine, said in a Harvard Health article. “Helping people experience and enjoy the release of endorphins and the increase in dopamine as well as serotonin that accompany exercise is key.”

Sure, having fun won’t burn more calories, but it will help keep you motivated. Research shows that the “novelty” of a workout can actually help keep participants motivated while also making sure different muscles get worked.

Chances are, if you’re constantly looking for new ways to move your body — whether it be Zumba or a morning hike — you’ll start to treat exercise as less of a chore and more of a fun way to get in some physical activity.

  1. Realize Exercise Isn’t “All or Nothing”

Face it, you’re not always going to have time for 30- or 45-minute gym sessions. Life will inevitably get in the way, and sometimes you’ll have to settle for a short, at-home workout.

Fortunately, that won’t stunt your progress.

Research has shown that even 10- or 15-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be just as effective as 45 minutes of cardio.

What will stunt your progress, however, is making excuses to stop working out because you missed a day or can’t follow your planned workouts to the ‘T.’ And sometimes all it takes is one missed workout or “bad” workout to start a spiral to you stopping altogether.

If you can spare 10 minutes a day, there’s no excuse to get thrown off your game — some movement is better than no movement. 

  1. Be Realistic About What You Can Do

If you expect to walk into the gym for the first time being able to lift hundreds of pounds or run a 5K, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Sure, it can be discouraging to realize that you’re weaker than you thought or can’t run as far or as fast as you used to. However, trying to do more than you’re physically capable of can end up in serious injury, especially if you’re trying to max out on everything all at once.

Instead, setting moderate but realistic fitness goals will help you consistently lose weight, as well as achieve harder goals over the long term.

“Individuals who select their own goals are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to follow through on them,” Dr. Kelvin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, said in a StudyFinds article.

If you’re looking to make good on your New Year’s resolutions this year, make your fitness plans work for you, and THIS TIME, you’ll stick to them.