Fitness doesn’t have to be drudgery. These tips can help you add focus and fun to your routine.

Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here are eight tips to help you stay motivated.

1. Set goals 

Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious. For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to do 10-20 basic push-ups in a workout session. An intermediate goal might be to do 30-40 a session. A long-term goal might be to progress to more advanced variations from the basic push-up .

2. Make it fun 

Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a cycling club or a calisthenics workout group. Discover your hidden athletic talent. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery — and you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.

3. Work-in your workouts through your day and week

If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Pedal a bike to work or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night. Be innovative, make it fun!

4. Put it on paper 

Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write it down. Quantify. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated. You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals — and remind you that you’re making progress.

5. Join forces with friends 

You’re not in this alone. Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Try a calisthenics workout with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take a class or go on a weekend bicycle ride together.

6. Reward yourself 

After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of sports shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

7. Be flexible 

If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can. Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember, physical activity is for life. Review these tips whenever you feel your motivation slipping.

8. Make time for recovery

We can’t stress enough on the importance of recovery. Not making enough time for recovery would mean not getting the best out of your workouts and worse still, hurting yourself both in the short and long term. Your muscles need time to recover, that’s really when you gain strength and reap the benefits of your training programme. Training hard for extended periods without recovery days and adequate sleep, is a recipe for failing to meet your fitness and health goals. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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