Easy steps to stay motivated to move

Grant Gensheimer
Grant Gensheimer

One of the most common New Year's resolutions involves getting more exercise. This can be a difficult undertaking; many start but very few continue throughout the year.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you maintain an exercise program for the rest of your life — or at least until February.

Create a habit. One strategy is to focus on creating a habit of exercising rather than worrying about how much you exercise, how hard to exercise, or what kind of exercise you are going to do.

You can start with something as simple as devoting one minute per day to exercise. This may not seem like much, but your ultimate goal here is to develop a habit that you will maintain for the rest of your life. Imagine if you added just one minute to your workout time each week. By the end of the year, you would be up to almost an entire hour of exercise each session. The key here is to be consistent.

Shift the focus. Another good strategy is to put the focus onto some event or race you would like to complete later in the year. By signing up early you give yourself something to look forward to and strive toward.

Many times by changing your focus from something general like "getting into shape" to something more concrete like "completing a 5K," you take some of the everyday stress out of the equation and you end up getting into shape in the process anyway.

This type of goal also has the advantage of an end date. Many times we work better, harder and smarter when there is an established deadline. Once you complete this goal you can set another.

Bring a friend. Try joining a gym with someone who may have similar goals. Exercising with a friend can be fun and help keep you motivated.

If motivation is still a problem, one unorthodox strategy is to plan to meet your friend each week to work out at the gym, but not contact each other during the day. This way even if one of you cannot make it, the other person won't also lose motivation and will still show up. Often just getting to the gym is the difficult part, and once we overcome this, the rest is easy.

Keep up the good work.