The end of the year is coming soon – the time of year when a lot of people focus on their New Year’s resolutions. If you’re thinking of starting an exercise program in 2023, you’ll want to create a long-term plan, which is essential to sticking to your goal and boosting the possibility of success on your fitness journey.
Keep these tips in mind when starting a new fitness plan to maximize success and long-term adherence:
- Assess your physical and mental readiness. Before starting a plan, discuss it with your physician and make sure you are cleared to begin. Then, you can move on to mentally preparing yourself with affirmations, so you feel ready and motivated to stick to it.
- Create a plan. In order for your plan to work over time, it’s important to set expectations for yourself. First, plan out the days and times that you will block off to exercise for the first month to start building a habit. Set the amount of time that you will logically be able to dedicate to your workouts. It’s recommended to start lower and increase the amount of time as you build stronger habits and intensity. Lastly, try to give yourself different exercise options that you enjoy. That way, on the challenging days, you can be flexible and choose from a couple of activities you enjoy, rather than feel stuck doing something you aren’t enjoying.
- Don’t compare yourself to those around you! Everybody is different, and everyone around you is on a different step on their fitness journey. Keep your personal goals and expectations in mind when setting your program.
- Be realistic. Set expectations for yourself that are doable. Setting many small goals, or milestones, that you can achieve throughout your journey will help keep you focused and motivated.
- Make it fun! Having fun is the best way to ensure you stick to your plan long-term, and there are many strategies to make exercise more fun. Having a variety of exercise forms to choose from is one, and exercising with people you know who have similar goals for themselves is another.
- Find a support system. If you’re struggling with accountability when trying to commit to a new habit, find a good support system to help you navigate through the hard times. A support system can look different for everyone: It could be a gym partner, a family member, or a friend. When you feel discouraged or unmotivated, ask these people to check in and ensure that you stick to your plan.
- Take it slow. Rushing won’t make the process faster or easier! Focusing on your needs and taking it slow is essential. Changing your lifestyle and starting new habits takes time and consistency.
Your New Year’s resolution to start exercising is achievable if you keep these simple steps in mind. It’s never too late to show up for yourself and become the best version of you!
The FIU Wellness and Recreation Center is a valuable, on-campus resource that you can utilize to increase your physical activity. For more information about the WRC's programs and services, please contact WRC@fiu.edu.
Angeliki (Angie) Mavrantza is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in public health and kinesiology from the University of Houston. She is currently finishing her master's degree in exercise science and kinesiology with emphases in neuroscience and psychophysiology at FIU. Mavrantza works as the graduate assistant of fitness and wellness at the FIU Wellness and Recreation Center.