The warmer weather serves as a reminder that summer is right around the corner, which means everyone’s hopping on the treadmill, putting in miles outdoors, or taking on strength training in an effort to get that beach body before summer.
Getting into a comfortable fitness routine can be difficult without the right mindset and tools for success – so ditch the fad diets and follow some of these guidelines to shed that winter weight and have your fittest summer yet.
Ways to Start and Stick With A Spring Exercise Plan
1. Create a realistic, achievable plan
We would all love to lose 10 pounds in one week or run three miles each morning, but realistically, these goals are too large to set at the beginning of a fitness plan and will set you up for failure. To achieve results that will last, try starting with small changes. Incorporating these changes into your diet, consistently over time, will allow you to form healthy habits and stick with them.
2. Do your research
If you have any physical ailments, back/joint problems, or dietary restrictions, make sure you consult with your doctor before creating your exercise and nutrition plan to avoid complications.
3. Take it by the day
Because our mind takes from 17 to 21 days to form a habit, these first two weeks will be crucial to creating an effective exercise plan. Instead of taking on each week at a time, break down your goals by the day.
Saying “I will run one mile today,” or “I will avoid processed foods today” are both short-term, achievable goals that your mind – and willpower – can handle. Day by day, build up those goals. Before you know it, it will be like second nature.
Related: 7 Ways to Start a New Habit
4. Track your progress
Understanding what you’re eating and how you’re exercising are key ways to identify healthy (and unhealthy) habits. For the first week, track everything – your food intake, exercise reps, mile time, etc. – and at the end of the week, recognize the unhealthy patterns and find ways to make them healthier.
After one month, look at your first week and see how far you’ve come! Success will be your best motivation to keep going.
5. Set an end goal and reward yourself
Motivation is the key to success, and finding healthy, effective ways to stay focused on your exercise plan is the best way to see results. Setting a goal like a best friend’s wedding, a vacation, or even just fitting into those too-tight shorts from last summer will keep you focused.
Related: 7 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise
6. Exercising can be easier than you think: don’t be discouraged!
Although getting fit seems overwhelming, even the smallest changes to your routine will help tone you up.
Park in a further parking spot or take a walk during your lunch break. Instead of heading straight to the weights at the gym, take a fun class to get you in the swing of fitness. Plan an active night with friends instead of going out to dinner. Small yet effective changes will lead to the results you’ve always wanted if you just stay motivated!
Now that the weather’s starting to warm up a little bit, you might be thinking about getting into a good, solid exercise plan. By creating a realistic plan, doing your research, taking it day by day, tracking your progress, rewarding yourself, and remaining positive, you can start and stick with a spring exercise plan you love to get an even healthier you!
John Rowley is a health and wellness expert who helps people transform their bodies while finding their passion, purpose and drive for success. With his tell-it-like-it-is attitude, John inspires others and changes lives by restoring physical, mental and spiritual health to help lead a better life. Rowley is the author of the best-selling books The Power of Positive Fitness and Climb Your Ladder of Success Without Running Out of Gas.
Featured photo by aaronbelford