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8 Tips to Get into a Sustainable Fitness Routine

How do you get into a sustainable fitness routine? This is the million-dollar question. So much has to happen BEFORE you can get into a routine. You need to want to do it - then, you need to determine what you will do, decide IF you can do that, and then rearrange your schedule (& possibly others in your life) to make it happen. Never mind the constant voice in your head questioning yourself if what you decided to do will work and be worth your time. This is especially hard if fitness knowledge is outside your wheelhouse.

This initial part, although challenging, can be the most exciting. This is when you feel that motivation driving you. Something took you to that edge to push you to make this decision to take action. Maybe you discovered the perfect workout on YouTube, that class you've heard a gazillion people tell you about, or finally told your friend that you would be her workout partner. Whatever it is, it's exciting.

Then, you start. It's hard, but you are excited to feel the change. You work your ass off and are so proud. However, after a few weeks or maybe a few months have passed, you aren't seeing the change you thought you would. Maybe you're exhausted because you added this new thing but didn't replace something else in your calendar to make it all fit.  

Fitness burnout like this is extremely common, obviously. You know this. You've heard it before. You didn't think you'd be at this place to question it because you were so dang motivated to start. 

The good news is there are some tried and true tips you can consider to keep you on track. Some of them are super obvious, while others may be the things you need to keep you going. Read on to learn more.

Plan for the day after "Perfect"

Devise a plan for what you will do and how you will talk to yourself the first time you skip a planned workout. Failure to stick to a workout schedule is inevitable. Life happens, and planning for failure can keep you going. Will you rest that day? Will you choose an easy walk vs the tough strength day? Will you do your strength workout on a different day? What will you say to yourself? Planning for this will keep you on track vs. throwing you off so dramatically that you give up completely.

Find a partner, trainer, or a group to keep you going

An accountability partner, a trainer, or a group has been proven over and over to be helpful. Your motivation will wane. But knowing that someone else is counting on you to show up can potentially help you stick to it.

Cut Your Goal in Half

Set a goal that you can assign a number to. Something like, "I will work out for 60 minutes 12 times this month." Then, be brave and cut it in half. You could strive to work out for 30 minutes instead. Or you could try working out 2x/week vs. 3. Although this may sound like poor advice, stats prove otherwise. Did you know that 90% of people who cut their goal in half had an increased desire to work on their goal? (According to Jon Acuff, the author of "Finish").

Make sure you actually like what you are doing

No, not everyone LOVES always lifting weights or pushing themselves during their long run. But, when choosing what you will do, be sure that you like the overall activity. Don't force yourself to do something you really don't like. 

Don't make it ALL intense or ALL super chill

Our body has different needs at different times. When you choose a workout that is always super intense (ex, heavy lifting with intense music), it may cause more stress than your body can actually handle. Sometimes, life delivers enough stress that you need your workout to chill you out. It's a good idea to have a mix of both in your life.

Plan for a backup activity

Have a backup movement (like walking) for the days you absolutely don't have the energy or stamina to work out. On those days you didn't sleep, had to get to work early for an emergency, or your kid needed more of your time, be okay with skipping your planned workout. Having something in your back pocket, like an easy walk, is still movement and may be just what you need that day.

Decide what you are going to bomb

In order to be good at one thing, you have to be bad at something else. Most humans can not be good at everything. Time is the biggest commodity we have, and when we are planning on starting something new, we can't pretend to still be good at everything else. It takes time to work out, so it would serve you well to get rid of something else. For example, if you tediously match and fold all of your family's socks or cook them gorgeous meals every day, decide to be bad at one or both of those things. Ask for help. Someone else in your family could cook 2x/a week so you can work out. The world won't end if your family doesn't have perfectly matched socks in their drawers. When they want socks, they can go to the mismatch bin and find their own. 

It's okay to get bored, and it's okay to do something else

Being bored with certain exercise routines is inevitable. In fact, the best-planned strength workouts are inherently boring. However, it's important to remember that movement is movement. Yes, some movement is better for achieving certain goals, but you don't have to keep doing that thing just because you know you "should." Stop "should-ing" on yourself and move on to something different if you truly aren't enjoying what you are doing.


These tips are a compilation of years of my personal experience and some valuable lessons I learned from Jon Acuff, the author of the book "Finish." I highly advise you to read this book if you are looking for more in-depth practical advice on finishing a goal. I hope you have found them helpful, and I wish you all the best in discovering your sustainable fitness routine.


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