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One of the biggest problems most people have with exercise is how to stay motivated. When it comes to adopting a workout routine, whether it’s running, yoga, or hitting the gym, it usually seems easy for the first few weeks. Then you start doing it less frequently, choosing to exercise only when you “feel like it.”

Before you notice it, you abandon it entirely.

How can you stop this from happening? How can you keep exercise incorporated into your daily life? Here are a few helpful tips:

Start off slowly

Starting a new exercise routine can be enjoyable; trying out new things, in general, can be exciting. However, too much excitement can have negative effects.

Remember to start off slowly. It’s good that you’re having fun with a new exercise routine, but make sure to “spread it out,” to avoid burnout. It is also important to listen to your body. Working out at too high of an intensity has its downsides. More is not always more!

It’s okay if it’s hard at first

While some people find the first few weeks fun and exciting, there are others who give up immediately after the first couple of days. The thing about exercise is, it’s sometimes difficult to get started because there’s a certain level of discomfort we experience when working out, especially if it’s a new exercise routine.

The trick is to keep at it. Embrace the challenge, and or adjust the pace to something that feels more natural to your body. Soon the discomfort attached to working out will fade away, and you’ll actually feel more uncomfortable whenever you don’t work out.

Track your progress

Whether your goal is to lose more weight, run more miles, lift more pounds, or simply to feel better, be sure to track your progress at some capacity. There are many smartphone apps made for this purpose, or you can just use a good old-fashioned pen and a notebook. Just the simple act of logging in the amount of work you’ve done each day can help keep you motivated, and also gives you a baseline for comparison down the road. While tracking numbers can be useful for some, numbers are not the sole indicator for success. You might benefit from making note of how you feel post workout – perhaps you woke up more energized, didn’t “need” that cup of coffee, or you had a great night sleep!

Look for a scheduled class

Choosing to enroll in a scheduled session is a great way to keep you motivated. Exercise classes, whether it’s yoga, boxing, or spinning, usually requires reserving a space in advance, and this can hold you more accountable.

Exercise classes also give you an opportunity to workout with other people, which can push you harder. To make it more enjoyable, look for a friend who’s willing to exercise with you.

Remember to go easy on yourself, and enjoy a treat once in awhile

Bodily exercise is not meant to be punishment. Exercise, when done correctly, is a vital component for your health and wellbeing. Berating yourself for missing a workout, or not “progressing” fast enough, is not and can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Be kind to yourself. You’re human.

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