How to Stick to a Workout Routine in 2018

The end of the year is a wonderful time to reflect on the past and set goals for out future.  An estimate 40% of Americans make New Year resolutions.  Sadly, a study by the University of Scranton suggests 80% of resolutions fail by February, and only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year goals.  The good news is that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10x more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.  

I applaud and admire everyone who wants to improve their life starting with a New Year resolution.  I always make New Year resolutions.  Sometimes I achieve 100% of my goals, and sometimes I fall short.  Nevertheless, even if I fall short, I always make improvements.  Moving forward little by little is the most important aspect of any long-term goal, and that process always starts with resolve.  

According to Statistic Brain, weight related resolutions account for 32.4% of all resolutions.  If one of your resolutions is to lose weight or be healthier, then moving more should be on the top of your to-do list.  If you’ve been living a sedentary life you will need to embrace some new tactics to increase your activity level.  Here are a few of my suggestions to get a workout routine to stick:  

Know Thy Self

If you are not a morning person then don’t schedule 6:00 am workouts.  If you have bad knees or hate monotonous tasks then don’t resolve to become a runner in 2018.   You need to make the habit-forming process as easy as possible.   So pick an activity that fits your personality, during a time that fits your schedule.   

Find Something You Like

I know this suggestion is a bit generic, but it holds true.  Find an activity that you find enjoyable.  If you don’t like crowds of people then try paddle boarding or kayaking in the summer.  Do you hate water?  Then paddle boarding may not be for you.  Try hiking or frisbee golf.   If you need some alone time, hit the driving range instead of sitting at Starbucks with a cup of coffee and a scone.  Even better, hit up the Starbucks drive-thru as you drive to the range!  It doesn’t matter if you are terrible at hitting golf balls.  No one is taking score at the range.   

Working out is important, and I do recommend everyone participate in strength training.  However, traditional workouts aren’t your only option.  There are a host of activities that will improve your health.  Think outside the box and find one that is right for you.  

Try Something New

A fun sub-resolution is to try a new activity for 4 weeks.  One week try Zumba, another week go to Rebounderz.  Take a TRX class or go swimming.  Is there something you have been dying to try?  Now’s the time!

Fitness Buddies Are Overrated

When you have a goal, you are the only one responsible for it’s success.  If you want to become more active don’t depend on a friend for encouragement.  You need to make yourself a priority and be responsible.   I suggest substituting a “workout buddy” with a “fitness social media group.”  FB groups or a group of your friends sharing text messages can be just as supportive, but without the challenges of coordinating schedules.  In addition, if you feel like you must have a person to meet at the gym, I recommend finding a group ex class you like and making friends with the instructor.  The instructor is the one person in the room you can depend on to show up consistently.  As time goes on, befriend people who also come to class regularly.  Group fitness participants typically find a class and stick to it.  You can count on getting to know regulars once you become a regular, too.  

Get On The Athleisure Bandwagon

The fashion industry hit the nail on the head when it decided to promote “gym clothes” as acceptable daily attire.  I live in compression pants and sports bras, and I now I don’t feel like I must go home and change before I go out.  And you shouldn’t either!   Dressing in activewear first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.  It’s so much harder to get myself into the gym if I’ve already dressed in nice clothes for the day.  And who has time for a wardrobe change anyway?  If you are anything like me, I rarely have time for myself.  I don’t want to waste it changing in and out of clothes if I don’t have to. 

If you don't want to fully commit to the "gym-rat" look, you can simply add boots to leggings and keep your sneakers in the car.  You can also pair your fall sweaters over a long tunic and no one will know you have a sports bra and tank top on underneath. 

When you are ready to update your wardrobe, try adding a few fashionable athletic pieces.  Brands such as Calia and Athleta have embraced the athleisure trend and offer fantastic gym-to-street clothing options.  Adding new pieces to your wardrobe doesn’t have to break the bank either.  Forever 21 and Old Navy have affordable, fashionable fitness collections.  TJMaxx and Marshalls have great options, too, if you have time to look.

I understand many of you have a career that demands professional attire.  Then my advice is either drive straight to the gym from work, or, if you prefer evening home-workouts, change into your fitness clothes before you drive home.  On weekends, ride the athleisure bandwagon first thing in the morning.  

Find a Visceral Goal

Wanting to look good is a fine goal, but it may not be enough motivation when you are confronted by donuts at work.  Your reason for working out must be about more than vanity.  

Take a moment to think about your fitness resolution.  Do you want to be healthier for your kids?  Do you want to be pain free?  Do you want to run a marathon?  Take a few minutes to close your eyes and visualize what your life could be a year from now if you reach your fitness goal.  What do you want your life to look like 10 or 20 years from now?  There is so much life to live in this world.  The healthier you are the more quality memories you will be able to make.  

I recommend creating a vision board with your inspiration.  Are your parents aging well and you want to follow in their footsteps?  Then include a picture of your parents.  Do you want to play more with your kids?  Then create a picture collage of every time you play with them.  When life gets hard think back to your visualization exercise or look at your vision board.  

Hire a Trainer or Join a Challenge

I know spending money on a trainer is a luxury we can’t all afford.  But, if you have a little extra money in savings, a trainer is a fantastic way to stick to your New Years Resolution.  Even if you schedule an appointment every two weeks, an appointment can make all the difference between success and failure.  If one-on-one personal training is too expensive, online training is a more affordable option.  You can discuss with your trainer a weekly check-in process that will keep you on track or you can join an online transformation challenge.  

Trainer-guided programs help provide milestones.  Having a trainer, either in-person or online, can keep you focused on mini-goals that will add up to a year of achievement.  

Plan Ahead

There will be tough times ahead.  Accept it and plan for it.  Start by not skipping your workout on a slow day, even if you think you’ll be able to make it to the gym the next day.  Too often you’ll get sick, or your child will get sick, or your computer will unexpectedly crash and you’ll have to drive to Best Buy, or you’ll get a flat tire, etc.  The list goes on.  Don’t skip the gym when you have the time.  But don’t beat yourself up if you must miss a day.  Just get right back on the program and repeat this cycle (basically for the rest of your life.)

Find a Podcast or a Music Station You Love

I often hit the gym for the sole purpose of listening to my headphones for an hour.  Make your gym time even more productive by learning something new via podcast.  Or relieve stress and/or get energized by jamming out to your favorite tunes.  

Advertise

Tell someone you know about your goals.  Yes, I know fit people can be super annoying, but who cares!  Be that annoying person!  Because at the end of the day, it’s the annoying gym-goers who will have strong bones and low blood pressure.  So, post gym updates on FB or share your gym experiences with a friend over tea.  But tell someone your goal and you’ll add more accountability to your resolution.  

 

Just know walking through the gym door is the hardest part of any workout routine.  It’s the hardest part for all of us.  Even people who go to the gym daily lack motivation sometimes.  You need to set yourself up for success by reducing obstacles and adding extra reasons to be active.  Your extra reasons, like listening to your favorite podcast or pure enjoyment from hiking a new trail, then become your motivation.  Find a way to substitute thinking “I have to go to the gym to lose weight,” with “I can’t wait to listen to my favorite podcast on the treadmill.”   True success starts with changing the way you think about a goal.  

Cheers to starting 2018 right!