Physical activity

Tips for staying motivated!

You might be asking yourself, how do I motivate myself to become more physically active? The first step to improve your health is to start a physical activity plan. A plan consists of goals, safety measures, and a timeline to help you on your physical activity journey. When we decide to start an exercise routine or a healthy habit the best way to stay on the right path is to stay motivated. This, as we all know, is hard especially when you have disruptions such as weather, holidays, etc. But, do not dismay! There is always a way to achieve your goals and keep a healthy lifestyle. The most important step is to start! Then, commit to it. Here are some easy ways to help you get started.

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. Write them down and keep a physical activity journal to monitor your progress.

2. Make it fun

Find sports or activities that you enjoy. If you're not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball, softball or a soccer league or take a dancing class. Remember, exercise doesn't have to be boring and you're more likely to stick with a fitness program if you're having fun.

3. Make any physical activity part of your daily routine

Make sure to schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activities throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Use a push mower to mow the lawn. Go for a walk in a nearby park. Bike to work, to run errands, or to visit friends. Walk with a friend over the lunch hour. Get the family involved.

4. Join forces with friends, neighbors or others

Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club. Join a motivational group online. Motivate and reward each other and enjoy the process together

5. Overcome disruptions to your exercise routine

Making any change in behavior, such as starting a physical activity program, can be challenging. You have to accept there will be brief setbacks or slips. If this occurs, think about some strategies to overcome those hurdles and how you can pick up where you left off. Don't be discouraged. It happens to all of us.

6. 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.

Stay focused, motivated and committed to working day to day. Remember your goals, think about how far you have come and keep going!

Following the above tips is an easy way to start working towards a healthier lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about heathy lifestyles, visit the USDA’s My Plate page. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension.

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