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How To Stick To Your Exercise Goals This Year

January 13, 2017

The new year can be a  fresh start, a time to set new goals and try to accomplish things that we did not do in the prior year.  This perhaps is most true when it comes to exercise.

Starting the new year with enthusiasm is easy, but how about keeping it that way? All too often, once February hits…heck even MID January…those goals seem to be a distant reminder. An exercise routine that was once exciting is now….kind of torture. The good news is that with a little mindfulness, it really is possible to maintain your goals through January and beyond.

Goals vs Resolutions
Stop making resolutions. Instead, set goals for yourself that are not annual. In the “The 12 Week Year”, author Brian P. Moran talks about how setting annual plans can lead to failure. As he says, the problem with thinking this way is that “We begin the year with big goals but by the end of January usually find ourselves slightly behind where we need to be. We mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important.” Instead of setting a major deadline one year away, try setting short term goals that can actually be accomplished, and measured. When it comes to fitness, I love setting out 30 day goals so that I have something new each month like gaining more strength in my arms or becoming more flexible to accomplish.

Thanks to technology, there are also plenty of apps to also help us in this department. Need help breaking down a big goal? The Strides habit and goal setting app offers a milestone tracker to break down those big ambitions into smaller, more manageable steps. It’s free and ties in nicely with breaking your annual goals into quarterly, or even monthly pieces!

A fun twist on goal setting is offered via Habitica – an app that is free and uses games to manage everything from personal goals, work, friends and fitness. Best tried with friends, this app turns your tasks into games. For completing tasks, you’ll earn achievement badges and currency that can be redeemed.  You can also collaborate with friends and get involved in challenges.

Energy In = Energy Out
Take every opportunity you can to surround yourself with inspiration and motivation. I love podcasts that inspire me such The Chalene Show for fitness, motivation and invaluable social media tips, The School of Greatness for major inspiration and Girlboss Radio when I want to hear about strong women who are making major marks every day. I listen while driving, while unloading groceries…just about everywhere! Happiness, positivity and motivation are a choice. If you create a world that supports this choice, you’ll find it much easier to follow the right path. As Elizabeth Gilbert said in “Eat, Love, Pray”, “I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”

Build a Tribe
One of my favorite quotes is, “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”. This is often the missing link when it comes to maintaining a health and fitness program! Think about doing a 21-30 day support and accountability group with a group of friends. Start a group chat or Facebook group and use it to get each other up in the morning before workouts, post motivational quotes  and serve as a built in support system for each other. After all, everything is better with friends! If Instagram and social media are your preference, online programs like Tone It Up and #tamily have major online communities as well.

Record Your Progress
Free online fitness diaries like My Fitness Pal are an extremely effective way to track your progress and stick to your goals. My Fitness Pal specifically gives you tools for tracking what you are eating, and how much of it, and perhaps most importantly, how many calories you burn through activity. The basic version is free, while the premium version is $9.99/month.

A more avant garde option would be the app, Run Social. This free app blends HD real world activity, social connectivity and 3D capability. It also tracks speed, pace and distance plus it can store data after run. Sounds like a game changer for that standard treadmill slog!

Finally, BodyBoard (formerly “Burn This”), offers photo sharing, participation in various challenges, motivational quotes, healthy recipe sharing and exercise plans. Think Instagram meets Pinterest meets fitness. Bodyboard is free for 30 days, then $2.99/month to upgrade.

Plan To Get Burnt Out
Research as many fitness options as possible. As a busy mama, I tend to workout mainly at home via Beachbody On Demand, but I love alternating my home workouts with classes out of the house for variety. Why not try working out at home for a while, and then sprinkle in some classes? I’ve found that my exercise routine was completely re-invigorated after taking fun new classes, like a trampoline based class called Bari Fitness and Orange Theory (HIIT training, with loud music and lots of energy). To see real results, you are going to need to be consistent not just with nutrition, but with your fitness. This means trying to avoid the dreaded “burn out” phase.

Rest, Recover & Stretch
Rest days are key – you should be taking at least one day a week for slower movement, whether it is active (think yoga) or not. There are many great home resources for meditation and yoga. Taking a day for recovery is important physically but mentally too. After all, we need to make sure that we are resting our mind in addition to our body!
In the end, making a commitment to your health 12 months out of the year requires consistency. Taking some of these tips into account will help, as well as understanding that it’s NOT about perfection. Some days will be amazing and some…won’t. What matters is that you stay the course.


Brett Cortell

Brett is a former manager at Instyle.com and mom to 3 young boys. She is now a lifestyle blogger, health coach and certified fitness instructor who is passionate about finding ways for women to lead their best lives.