As the Wall Street Journal’s What’s Your Workout columnist, I started many years out promising to exercise more and eat healthier. And just like 80% of people who make New Years resolutions, I often gave them up before Super Bowl Sunday.

Still, I have found a few tips for staying engaged for the long haul. Success begins with defining good resolutions.

“‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to be fitter’ are aspirations, not goals,” says Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “A goal is something specific and measurable. “

These goals should also be meaningful to you, personally. There’s a lot of cultural pressure to look a certain way or participate in a trendy workout, like Peloton, says Dr. David. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on what’s important to you and what makes you feel good, rather than what everyone else is doing, she says.

Reaching your fitness goals really comes down to changing your daily habits, she says. “You have to put a strategy in place to achieve your long-term goals,” says Dr. David.

I learned how to create a comprehensive New Year’s resolution, as well as a roadmap for how to get there by the end of the year. To stay on track, I’ve also come up with a few tips, ranging from buying new running shoes to booking vacations that require me to train to keep me motivated. Here are 10 tips that will help you reach your 2022 fitness goal.

Create an environment that prepares you for success

If you choose your framework to encourage good habits, you’re more likely to follow, says Dr. David. “Put on your walking shoes at the front door or lay out your workout clothes by your bed to remind yourself of what you plan to do. “

Anticipate obstacles

We all have temptations that sabotage our training. Take note of situations that regularly cause you to skip workouts. If you know you’ll be tired after a late Zoom call and want to watch Netflix rather than exercise, engage in a short workout and then a movie, says Dr David. More often than not, once you start to move, you will feel great and exercise for longer than expected.

Find your passion

Discovering an activity that you are passionate about is the key. Every year I decide to try a new sport or a new workout, be it golf or zumba. Jill Henderzahs-Mason, physiotherapist in the Healthy Living Program at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, suggests plugging new activities into your calendar every month. If you have no idea what excites you, start by making a list of what you like and don’t like, says Chris Vlaun, co-founder of V Art of Wellness, a fitness company in Park City, Utah and Miami. . “If the thought of sneaking indoors sounds awful, maybe it is a sign that you are an outdoors person and that you should try a hike,” he says.

Make it social

Whether you join a running club or take on a weekly walk where you call a friend to catch up with them, this social commitment can help keep you on track. “Walking with a friend is one of the best things you can do for mental and physical health,” says Heather Harrington, co-owner of Compass Fitness in Denver. “You exercise while letting go of your stress and worries. “

Have a backup plan

I treat my workouts like work meetings and schedule them into my week. But that doesn’t mean that unforeseen diversions don’t appear, derailing my good intentions. I’ve learned to have backup plans, so if my hour-long workout can’t happen, I have 40, 30, and 20-minute home options to fall back on. I have taken a lot of these home workouts in recent columns.

Surround yourself with a supportive community

If you find yourself skipping workouts to join coworkers for a happy hour or friends for beer-soaked soccer weekends, you may need to find more health-conscious friends to help you out. stick to your routine. A workout buddy creates responsibility and makes exercise a social affair. It could be a close friend or strangers who regularly attend your training camp, says Harrington. When you become a staple of a group class and miss a workout, people will ask you where you were at to hold yourself accountable, she says.


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Invest in your training

I know if I splurge on booking a $ 25 yoga class, I’m doing everything in my power to get to class. “If you’re motivated by money, prepaid classes and workouts can help you stick to your routine,” says Harrington. “Sign up in advance so it’s on your calendar.” Investing in expensive equipment, like new running shoes or a worn road bike, can also be an incentive.

Make your workout a means to an end

There is exercise, and there is training. If I pay a running fee, I’m more likely to train four days a week so that I can perform well in that 5k or half marathon. If you’re not competitive, try booking a vacation around an activity that requires a certain level of fitness, whether it’s a week-long hike in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming or a ski trip to Colorado.

Gamify your training

Gadgets and technologies like Garmin, Fitbit and Strava allow you to track your workouts and compare your progress to yourself or others, says Harrington. “If you know competition encourages you, some of the latest tech-driven fitness gadgets can keep you motivated through regular performance updates,” she says.

Give yourself a pass sometimes

Often times, people don’t reach their goals because they have an all-or-nothing approach, says Dr. David. Change is a process, and it’s important to be compassionate with yourself. “People think getting off the hook is a failure or a weakness, but it often allows us to regroup and refocus,” says Dr David.


What are your tips for keeping your resolutions? Join the conversation below.

Write to Jen Murphy at [email protected]

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