How to make exercise "Stick"

Chance are, if you made a New Year's resolution, it involved keeping a regular exercise schedule. As you know, many people make this resolution, and the gyms are packed in Janaury. In March, however, they seem to be less crowded again.

When I work one on one with clients, I have three phases that we go through... 1) Discovery: What is going on specifically with your body? 2) Optimization: Making a plan to improve what we discovered in step one and 3) Maintaining this for sustained optimal health moving forward. All three of these are super important for lasting health transformation. Chances are, if you have failed in the past, you have missed at least a portion of one or more of these steps.

If you made a New Year's Resolution, you have begun this process. You have decided that your current workout routine (whatever it is or isn't) is not where you want it to be. You are going to improve it. But, specifically, how?

Many people have what amounts to a dream or wish to "workout more" or "get in better shape." That is not a PLAN. In order to succeed, you need a plan. Let's dig in to what that looks like for working out:

What is your goal? Do you want to accomplish something like running a 5K or do you want to workout 3 times per week. If you simply want to "workout more" that doesn't really help, because it's not specific enough. Spell it out. How often, how long, which days. If you have an accomplishment based goal like running a 5k, you would simply pick a plan and follow it. The mechanics will be dictated by your goal. If you are just trying to be healthier and more fit, exercising 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes on Mon., Wed, Fri. and Sat. is what that looks like.

Next, you get very specific about the mechanics. What time and where will you do these workouts? At home? At the gym? What kind of exercise? Before work, at lunch or in the afternoon or evening?

Create an appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar. Statistically, people are more consistent with morning workouts because it's out of the way before life gets busy and it gets pushed aside. I like working out first thing before I shower and tackle my day. The important thing, however, is to pick what works for you.

Next, you want to track your progress. If you have a fitness tracking device, great! There are several different varieties that measure steps, heart rate, etc. As you keep showing up and doing the work, you will see you are walking or running faster, getting more steps, etc. This helps keep you motivated. If you don't have a fancy device like this, that's totally fine. Just grab a notebook and write down what you did. You will look back and be amazed by what you are able to do in the next few months. The metrics you collect will be based on what is important to you: You might want to take measurements to show progress, track your weight. Or, track how far you can walk or run in a given amount of time. Maybe it's weight you are able to lift. Make it personal!

I hope you have found this helpful. If your resolutions this year involve working out, I challenge you to put some planning into it to reap maximum results!

You can do this!

Dr. Jeni

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