It’s that time of year again! We’re all looking back at 2019 and making a list of the things we want to change for the new year (and new decade!). And most of us resolve to exercise more every year, along with any number of other goals that we may not have reached this year. When we make resolutions, we have the best of intentions—but many of us don’t create habits that last. This article will talk about sticking with your New Year’s resolution to exercise more.

Create Your Action Plan

When you make your New Year’s resolution, be sure you choose goals you can actually attain. If you’ve been a couch potato all year, you might not want to set a goal to run a marathon in February. So, create an action plan that contains the steps you need to get there. If you want to run a marathon, you’ll need to build your endurance over time. Make incremental goals and celebrate your successes along the way. Start out with small goals—15-minutes three times a week, for example—and increase the length and frequency of your workouts over time. When you feel like you can do more, tack on a few extra minutes.

Refuse to Get Discouraged

Successful people know that not every day will be perfect, and they will falter from time to time. Remember that you have choices in each moment and that not everything will go as you have meticulously planned. It’s perfectly normal to take an occasional day off, or rest and heal if you aren’t feeling well, whether it’s a pulled muscle or a fever. Don’t feel ashamed if you skip a day or two! Instead, reaffirm your commitment to making better choices going forward.

Make Small Changes that Add Up

Waking up 30 minutes early to tackle a workout is great, but what if that doesn’t fit within your busy day? Schedule your workouts like you’d schedule meetings and commit to sticking with it. Additionally, you can fit in mini-workouts throughout your day. These may include:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking far from the door
  • Stretching or marching in place while you’re on the phone
  • Walking instead of watching television
  • Doing jumping jacks while the coffee brews

Your New Year’s resolutions are more likely to be successful when you create and make lasting healthy habits. Truly, small changes lead to big rewards and results!

Share Your New Year’s Resolution

When you tell your family members, friends, and colleagues about your resolutions, you might find others who have set goals that align with yours. These are the people who can help hold you accountable and motivate you to succeed. You might also inspire others through your actions! Creating a support network that can help you achieve your goals can be encouraging in both ways—they can count on you just as you count on them. If you find exercise partners, you not only get a support system, you’ll also reap the benefits of positive social experiences and inspiration.