Common recommendations for building and maintaining exercise motivation include the
• Set a goal or vision. Having a clear picture of your desired outcome (your destination) makes you much more likely to achieve it. Clearly specify how you will know when you’ve reached your goal. You might take a picture of yourself now and every four weeks, so you can see how you’re progressing.
—Develop a realistic action plan. Create a clear, logical and achievable action plan that includes frequency, intensity and duration of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching. Include realistic short- and long-term goals.
—Use environmental cues. Put your gym bag by the door, so you remember to take it to work. Or schedule your workouts into your calendar or planner and set electronic reminders on your cellphone or computer.
—Have fun. Find an activity that you enjoy and will stick with, along with an environment that is supportive, safe and comfortable for you.
—Make it convenient. Exercise at home to fitness DVDs if you don’t have time to drive to the gym. Exercise at the time of day when you have time and you enjoy doing it.
—Record your progress. Keep a written record of your exercise (weights, sets, reps; distance walked, run, or biked; flights of stairs climbed; etc.)
—Build a social support network. Find a buddy with whom you can work out regularly. You can help and encourage each other, rely on each other for moral support and accountability, and share in your accomplishments. If you need additional help and accountability, you can hire a personal trainer. Look for a trainer who is credentialed by a well-known organization.
—Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something that is compatible with your health and fitness goals (e.g., not a piece of chocolate cake, but something else you enjoy, like a movie, flowers or new exercise
• Believe in yourself. You can implement a strategy and achieve your vision.
• Persist. Making good exercise and nutrition choices day after day can be challenging. If you have momentary setbacks, accept them and get back on track.