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ninjacolin's avatar

What helped you to successfully stick to your exercise plan?

Asked by ninjacolin (14206points) February 25th, 2012

A lot of people try to get started with an exercise plan but end up quiting after a few days.

A lot of other people make it passed those first few days and weeks and find themselves with a brand new fit body that lasts for months and years.

I’d like to hear from those latter types. Do you remember having a hard time getting started? Do you remember hating some exercises at first that you now love?

What helped you keep your focus and push through?
What convinced you that it was better to keep going?
How long did it take to switch from begrudgingly going to do your workout to anticipating it and loving your new fit way of life?

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14 Answers

Fenjo's avatar

Actually there is one answer to all of those questions. Incentive tops them all. Motive can drop off if or when your goal no longer exists. But receiving compliments for your hard effort, feeling more energetic, testing your mental courage and encouraging others to participate helps build a constant incentive to continue a healthy lifestyle.

Ponderer983's avatar

A new gym and the hot guys who work there!

But in all seriousness, you either like or don’t working out, unfortunately. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so keep it up and it will start to feel part of your routine, and breaking it will make you feel kind of guilty. You’ll also get motivated once you see the results you want. Also, having someone else go with you and be accountable to helps.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think a lot of people don’t continue because they start out with an overly ambitious plan. If you, in the beginning anyhow, just say to yourself that you are going to do something each day. That should get your started. I have been running for about 45 years and it is a love/hate relationship. I hate it until I get out the door and get a sweat going, then I am okay and almost enjoy it. When I get home and hop in the shower, I invariably have to acknowledge that I loved it! I read someone say in a mag that they hated the first 10 minutes and after that settled into a groove and found a rhythm and all was well. That is the way I do it, I don’t usually have a plan going out the door, I see how I feel, if I have time and am feeling good I will go 10 or 15k if I am tired or not into it a quick 3 or 5 will do. The key is, just get out the door and do something!

I also run for those who would like to and can’t, that is what I tell myself, think of the many who would love to be out here and can’t. That is a very good motivator.

gondwanalon's avatar

When I was much younger I started and stopped exercise programs many times from just after high school in 1970 through 1979. In College I even dropped out of a jogging class. Back then I would set easy goals for myself and then I never reached any of them. One goal that I failed to reach was to jog an average 1 mile per day for one month. Yet even with all the failures I would keep trying. One thing that encouraged me to keep trying was that I like the way that I felt after working out. Then in 1979 I started exercising (mostly running and jogging) and I have never stopped. What kept me going? I think that it was 25% perseverance, 25% bold defiance, 25% camaraderie with other athletes and 25% of overcoming myself (When I felt lazy, I would tell myself to “Just cut the BS and just do it!”).

Also a huge motivator for me has been my exercise journal that is a consistent record of every workout since I started it in 1983 through today. By the way that record shows that I’ve averaged over 2½ miles for every day that I’ve been alive and I’m 61 years old (or over 2¼ times around the Earth at the Equator).

Perhaps the keys for me was my journal, my running buddies and that I just kept trying after failing so many times. Steve Prefontaine once said “A man may fail many times but he is only a failure when he begins to blame someone else”.

Daily exercise is something that everyone (who is able) needs to do in order to help to maintain good health. Exercising is part of my normal daily routine (like brushing and flossing your teeth, taking a shower, etc). But I mix it up a lot so it doesn’t get boring. There are countless different exercises to choose from so I never get in a rut or bored and rarely get injured.

Good luck!

hopscotchy's avatar

I do best signing up for a class with one or more people I know involved. I do really well in small group exercise when I know that I am expected to attend and people will ask me where I was if I don’t show. Right now it’s a mixed martial arts class that is pretty intense but so much fun. I actually love this class more than any other group class I’ve taken. It’s a 60 minute class 3x a week broken down like this… We start with a meditation and then the first six minutes we go hard, we go so hard in that 6 minutes that you want to scream. This is followed by a 1 minute break after which we go into 2 minute intense cycles with a one minute break interval. We do six cycles like that and then the last 20 minutes are fighting sequences with gloves and pads followed by a 10 minute stretch. It goes by so fast! But the instructor always says “you can do anything for 2 minutes”. So very true.
I have to do it like this, if I go to the gym I’m wasting the majority of my time trying to figure out what to do.

as a side note, I can run but I absolutely despise it. It hurts my knees, it hurts my chest, and I spend the entire time from minute one wondering when I can stop. If something isn’t working for you, move on. There are multiple different ways to move the body.

Bent's avatar

I made a new year’s resolution to swim 3 times a week (instead of just now and again, about once a month). Although I’ve had to miss some sessions because of health reasons, I’ve kept it up because I go with a friend. Neither of us wants to be a quitter in front of the other.

The improvement in my skill and stamina is a motivation too. I’m not a strong swimmer and three months ago I could manage only two lengths of the pool. Yesterday I swam twelve.

Judi's avatar

I was the last picked in PE and was teased unmercifully for being clumsy. I hated exercise because nothing ever came easy for me.
When I entered my 40’s I felt like ad old woman. I watched my mother and mother in law age and it really scared me. I was over 200 lbs and was having a hard time walking. I went to Europe and skipped the coliseum because my feet hurt. As my mom started using a walker, I could see that it wouldn’t take long for me to be using one as well. I felt like I was in the final stages of my life! My daughter had just married and I knew I wanted to be the type of grandma who could roll om the floor and play with my grand kids.
One thing that kept me going was hiring a trainer. When you are paying $50 an hour you tend to show up.
The other thing was that vision of grand kids.
In two weeks I turn 51. I can honestly say I feel better than I did when I was 30. I work with the trainer 3 days a week and do yoga 5–6 days a week. I went from 213 to 132 and have for most of the last 9–10 years stayed under 140.
Do I love exercise? No. I do it because I want to dance at my great grand children’s weddings.
In the last 7 years I have been blessed with 7 grand kids, and yes, I roll on the floor and play with all of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I never had an exercise “plan.” But I built my life around things that required hard work, hence, my exercise.

ninjacolin's avatar

These are great stories guys. More more more if possible!

I’ve started and stopped so many times. It’s rough for me because I don’t happen to appear unhealthy but I swear to god I’m a mess on the insides. Must be. I’ve 3 days in a row at this point. I don’t think I should ever quit exercising. But I worry (not super worried, maybe that’s part of the problem) that I’m going to quit again like I have in the past. I’ve been debating plastering my walls with tons of health magazine pages and info graphics. My actual plan is to go to an art store and get some supplies and start writing various motivations to myself to put up in my face.

Tough battle. I gotta win somehow though.

Ponderer983's avatar

@ninjacolin Here’s a little saying that my boss told me once. It’s not about excersizing, but it’s about being healthy and getting to that goal. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Geared towards people who are overweight, which doesn’t seem to be your issue, but you could adapt it to your goal of a workout routine.

likipie's avatar

Thinking about why I want to lose weight/get in shape and looking at pictures of people that are skinnier than me to inspire me to keep going.

fizzbanger's avatar

At least every other day, I force myself to get up, get dressed, and lace up my running shoes. I tell myself that I must go for a 5 minute walk. If I don’t feel like running after that, I can turn around and go home.

I never turn around and go home.

rooeytoo's avatar

@fizzbanger that is so true, if you can get out the door and go 5, I think it would be rare for anyone to turn around and go home!

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