I applaud everyone who wants to kick off a fitness plan. I know the easy part is to want to start a fitness program, but it is entirely different and even more difficult to begin and commit to one for the long term. Personally, I have always been an active person, walking, biking, playing with my kids, but I was stuck in a fitness rut.  I wanted to lose weight for years, but never took the steps to really push myself to do so. When I finally did give it my all and really pushed myself to get the job done, the motivation to keep going came from within. I had to be completely honest with myself about what I was doing and what pieces of my routine and essentially, myself, had to change. 

Below are tips I used when beginning to lose the weight. But more than weight loss, my personal drive is what keeps me going. I think it is difficult to truly identify what drives us to get where we want to be in life. Our every day lives are busy and full of “noise” that it can be a struggle to sit quietly and identify what we want to be or what we want to accomplish. What will drive you to be the person you want to become? This was a key point for me. Identifying within myself “the what and the why” were essential for me to move forward.

1. Identify what is going to drive you to success.  Why do you want to begin a fitness program? Ask yourself, who are you doing this for?  I strongly feel when it comes to fitness, we need to do it for ourselves because no one else can exercise for us. So, my number one tip is simple – do it for you.  

2. Set goals.  This is where you set yourself up for success. Make your goals achievable. Be specific and keep them simple. Make short-term goals. These seem much easier and more achievable. Small steps lead to BIG results! 

3. Write it down and monitor your progress.  This was key for me in tracking my workouts from day-to-day and from one week to the next. I did not want to get bored with what I was doing and seeing it on paper helped me to mix things up and keep my workouts fresh. Writing everything down makes it easy to monitor progress too. When my weight loss became stagnant, I did a daily calorie count for two full weeks. It is much clearer to see on paper what we are doing versus trying to track what is happening by memory.   

4. Schedule it! I set a time each day for working out and I stick to it as if it were an appointment. It is my time to do what I need to do for me.  

5. Use what keeps you going. It could be a friend, music, voices in your head, etc. If you need a buddy to keep you in the routine of exercising, recruit one.  If you need music to get you moving at a swift pace, create a playlist of your favorites. If you need to tell yourself “I do this for me,” or “ this is my time,” create your own mantra to push yourself to the next level and display it proudly at your home or office. 

Do whatever it takes to stay inspired.  Begin within and do it for you.