Mid-Year Moment

In a perfect world, we’d all have nailed our New Year’s resolutions. I’d be 15 pounds lighter. My sister-in-law would’ve potty trained her three-year-old. And my niece would be pulling off a perfect two-minute plank. But here in the real world, life happens. If your best intentions for a regular workout schedule have gone awry since the new year, try these tips for getting back on track. Once you’re back in your routine and working out again, your body, brain, and waistline will thank you.

First, Forgive

If you’ve wimped out on your gym time because of commitments, illness, or any other reason, forgive yourself and (as that magnet on my fridge reminds me daily) do the next right thing.

Make a Plan and Write it Down

There’s something about writing a resolution down that makes it more official. Tell yourself how many times you’ll go to the gym each week and write it on your calendar (cell phone, bathroom mirror, dashboard, whatever works).

Find a Partner

An accountability partner can help you stay on track. Find someone with similar goals and agree to meet at the gym, walk the neighborhood, or just check in with each other periodically, to make sure you’re both sticking with the program.

Define Your Goals

What’s your reason for working out? Are you trying to lose weight? Train for a marathon? Or just be healthier and live longer? Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you stick to your guns.

Have Realistic Expectations

You know what’s reasonable for you—and what’s not. Is telling yourself you’ll work out every single day realistic? How about three times a week? Know what your schedule, commitments, and fitness level will allow.

Start Slowly

If you’ve been away from your workout routine for weeks or months, don’t expect to jump right back in where you left off. Doing so could lead to injury or super sore muscles, either of which might be an excuse to quit again.

Put a Carrot on that Stick

Consider a reward—or a series of rewards—you can give yourself when you persist. That can be anything from a new bikini or a weekend away to a post-workout glass of wine.

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