It is important to exercise regularly. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

Getting accustomed to a regular exercise schedule is one of the best ways to stay motivated. When we intend to start exercising from tomorrow on, what we really need to do is to get out and do it right now.

Listed below are a few ways to stay motivated to exercise.

1. Set a sensible goal

It is important to set a specific but realistic goal for your exercise. Losing 10 kilograms of weight, for instance, could be your final goal. It might feel impossible for the time being, especially when we just start out.

"Beginners usually expect maximum results, but they tend to be overwhelmed," said Gerald Endress, a sports psychologist at the Duke Center for Living in North Carolina. He also suggests that we should not push ourselves to exercise an hour a day, but rather set a more sensible goal that we can handle, such as exercising two to three times a week for 20 or 30 minutes.



2. Monitor the progress

Take notes of all the exercises we do, whether using an online journal or simply a notebook.

Being aware of simple milestones such as running faster, doing more repeats or increasing the intensity of an exercise can encourage us to keep going with the exercise.

3. Get rid of guilt

Be realistic. It is inevitable to miss a few exercise times.

If we acknowledge from the outset that we will skip exercise once or twice, it will lead to a mental acceptance instead of despair.

4. Focus on yourself

There will always be someone who is fitter, faster and stronger than you. "Stop comparing yourself with them," said Endress. We should care less about them and not let them stand in our way to achieving our goal.

Your exercise time is for you and all about you.

5. Have a support group

Find a group of people from your circle of friends, colleagues or neighbors, or rely on your spouse to encourage you to keep going. Ask them to do that constantly.

"Those people have to be supportive, instead of discouraging us with such words as, 'why can't you do it? It's very easy',” said Carla Sottovia from Cooper Aerobics in Dallas.

When motivation turns into criticism, remind your friend that you don't need the discouragement.

6. Find something fun

If you feel less motivated, maybe you're not doing the right type of exercise for you. Or maybe you used to like it but don't anymore.

Find the right type of exercise that you like the most, and it will become something you wait for with excitement. Remember, exercising doesn't always mean you have to go to the gym. It's probably better to go climb a mountain or swim, jog around the neighborhood and catch up with the people next door, or enroll in a dance class.

7. Start with 7 minutes

Push yourself to do a 7-minute exercise. After you've finished, ask yourself, do you want to carry on? If you don't, you can do a few small sessions throughout the day instead of a one-time exercise of long duration.

8. Be flexible with time

When you happen to be too busy, don't waste 30 minutes in a traffic jam to reach the gym. Make use of exercise YouTube videos at home.

And if you are too tired to exercise in the evening, set up your alarm to wake up and exercise early.

9. Put the past behind you

You were probably not the most athletic at school and you were a laughing stock in physical education class.

Well, that happened in the past. Your goal now is not to score high grades or to attract your crush in class. You exercise to stay healthy so that you can enjoy life.

10. Reward yourself with a gift

You deserve something nice as a reward for your exercise. Pick gifts such as new clothes, shoes, or whatever you wish to enjoy. (mut/kes)