Keep Your Workouts from Waning

To stay on track with your exercise, top fitness experts offer these hints:

Be specific

Determine what you're going to do, when and where you'll do it and keep these factors consistent. "Don't leave any wiggle room when building this habit," says James E. Loehr, Ed.D., mental-training guru for athletes, of LGE Performance Systems, Orlando, Fla. "Wing it, and it'll take much longer to anchor."

Create a compelling atmosphere

"Make exercise more fun and doable," Loehr says. Find a location where you feel comfortable and that you can get to easily; choose a time that suits you; pack your gear the night before; obligate yourself by arranging to meet a friend; bring rousing music.


Focus on the process, not the outcome. "Set weekly mini-goals, such as to work out three times, rather than to lose 5 pounds," says Phil Dozois, co-owner of Breakthru Fitness Studio. "The results will motivate you to continue."

Celebrate successes

All the little victories -- finishing 20 reps when last week you could only do 15, graduating to Phase II -- bring you closer to your overall goal. Track them in a journal and reward them with new clothes or a foot massage.

Get support

Share your workout plans with co-workers, friends and family. Once the word is out, you'll feel more obligated to follow through. Better yet, recruit a workout partner to cement your commitment and keep your spirits up.

Be realistic

Don't expect to nail this overnight. The "acquisition stage" lasts 30-60 days. Plan for that and it'll be here before you know it.

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