How to actually stick to your fitness plan

Julie Delahaye

Most of us start off with the best intentions when exercising, regularly hitting the gym or going for jogs, as well as making an effort to follow a healthy diet. However as the weeks fly past and our hectic schedules get in the way, it can be easy to let your enthusiasm dwindle.

Luckily, we've found some of the best tips and tricks to help you stay motivated no matter what your workout plan…

CLICK TO VIEW GALLERY

><img alt=VIEW GALLERY

Take it step by step when achieving your goals

Don't expect to be a fitness guru in a few weeks

The more you exercise, the better your fitness levels become. Don't be discouraged if you can't reach your goal after just two weeks – take it easy. If you do too much too soon, you'll end up sore and miserable, and even risk injury. Take it step by step, breaking down your goal into small achievable ones – for example, if you want to run 10km, start with a 3km run, and when that gets too easy move on to 5km, and so on.

Mix it up

If you're feeling unmotivated, it could be that your fitness plan isn't stimulating enough. Try changing up the exercises you do at the gym, for example by adding more strength training or different cardio routines. If you're really struggling, try joining a class – you could discover a new exercise you love, and a group environment can help you stay focused.

Reward yourself

Whenever you reach a goal or rise to a challenge you've set yourself, make sure to take a few moments after the workout to savour those feelings of triumph. For longer range goals, promise yourself rewards at particular milestones. For example, once you can run 10km treat yourself to new running shoes.

><img alt=VIEW GALLERY

Don't be too hard on yourself throughout your fitness plan

Treat your workouts like an appointment

Whether you're starting out on a workout plan, or finding it difficult to maintain your initial routine, treat exercise the same way you would a doctor's appointment. Schedule time in your diary each week and stick to it – it will eventually become a habit and you'll find it easier to stay motivated and head to the gym.

Write down your goals

Make a list of what you want to achieve and leave it somewhere you will see it regularly (for example, stuck to the fridge) – it will work as a great reminder as to why you decided to start the plan in the first place. Really struggling to stick to your fitness routine? Try keeping an exercise diary – record what you did each session, how long your workout lasted and how you felt afterwards. This way, you can track the progress you're making and figure out what does/doesn't work for you.

Don't be too hard on yourself

If you're feeling too sore, or really don't feel up to it, give yourself a day off. As long as you get back on track as soon as you can, you're entitled to taking a break. Listen to your body – you don't want to run the risk of seriously injuring yourself.

More on: