Getting or staying fit doesn’t have to be a bore. These tips can add focus and fun to your routine.

Have you ever started a fitness programme and then given up? If yes, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Many people start a new fitness regime but stop when they get bored or the results come too slowly. Here are seven tips to help you stay motivated:

  • Set achievable goals
  • Make it fun
  • Make it part of your daily routine
  • Write it down
  • Reward yourself
  • Team up with friends
  • Be flexible

Set achievable goals: Start with simple, achievable targets. Then build up to intermediate goals and then longer term targets. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your immediate goals are too ambitious. For example, if you haven’t exercised for a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5 mile walk.

Make it fun: Play sports or take up activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Maybe take up tennis or cycling or ballroom dancing. Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery — and you’re way more likely to stick with a fitness programme if you’re having fun.

Make it part of your daily routine: If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Walk instead of taking the bus. Do strength training exercises while you watch TV.

Write it down: Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Try writing it down. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated. You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterwards. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals — and remind you that you’re making progress.

Team up with friends or colleagues: Invite friends or colleagues at work to join you when you exercise. It’s often easier to stay on track and to keep yourself motivated if you exercise with someone else.

Reward yourself: After each exercise session, take a moment to savour the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself! Maybe a new pair of shoes or a painting?

Be flexible: If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

Now that you’ve – hopefully! – regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember, physical activity is for life.