Tips on sticking to your routine

So. You've taken the all-important first step in working out: getting started. But after the excess weight comes off and/or you've reached the goals you originally set out to achieve, how do you keep active and maintain the healthy routine you've created for yourself? Here are a number of steps you can take to stick to your routine:

Tips on sticking to your routine

1) Mix it up: Doing the same thing day after day is bo-rrrring. Even if you constantly change the songs on your iPod, doing the same moves is going to begin to wear on you. But mixing it up is easy -- if you're a runner, start taking a different route. If you workout to DVDs, invest in some new ones. If you spend day after day doing 25 minutes on the Elliptical trainer at level 9, try alternating between level 11 and level 6 -- or better yet, take a dance class, go ice skating with your sweetie or just find something else to do. You might get hooked, you might not, but at least you're doing something different.

2) Get professional help: No, not that kind of help. Enlist the advice of a fitness expert, who can recommend different activities that will generate even more results from your routine.3) Keep track of your progress: Nothing motivates someone like results. For example, when I first started yoga, I was severely un-flexible and found even the easiest poses challenging and uncomfortable. But by the final class, I realized I could do something that I hadn't done since I was 5 -- I could touch my toes in a forward bend. I decided then and there to stick with it, if only just to see what other flexibility I could gain. Two and a half years later, I'm still at it, though now for different reasons -- because I enjoy it. The poses are no longer uncomfortable and the classes are no longer tedious.

4) Set new goals: If you've achieved a fitness goal, it's time to set a new one. Because really, if we're not aiming for something, we're not going to get far. We need a vision, something that we want to achieve, to motivate us. These goals need to be within our reach though. For example: I have exercise-induced Asthma, which keeps me from running. I've set a goal for myself that I want to be able to run continuously for 20 minutes. To many, this is simple but to me it's an amazing feat. I'm at 15 minutes and going strong. But if, 6 months ago, I had promised myself I'd be running marathons by now, I would be feeling like a failure because truthfully, I'm nowhere near that and maybe I'll never be. 20 minutes is hard enough for me and I will be mighty proud of myself when I get there.

5) Keep it easy: When you're working out, a little pain is good. But if your workout is too hard, you won't enjoy it, and if you don't enjoy it, you'll probably find excuses not to go. Being challenged is good but you need to find an activity that you both find challenging and enjoyable.

7) Make it a part of your life: Like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, showering -- exercising should be part of your life, something that you try not to miss, and something that you'll be doing regularly for a long time.

Do you have any tips?

Mohammed khalf
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writer and blogger, founder of Go motivations .

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