Stick to Your Workout Routine (Even With a Busy Schedule)

If you’re like most people, it’s about that time of year again—the time of year when you admit you haven’t really kept up with your new year’s resolutions as much as you’d liked to have. If one of your goals was to start working out more or to stick with a routine that at times fought for space in your busy schedule, then there’s still hope. In can be frustrating to feel like you’re falling behind because you just haven’t found the time to dedicate to it, but there’s no need to accept defeat and put it off for another year. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can work around your busy schedule to achieve your goal of being more active!

First, say goodbye to the “there’s always tomorrow” excuses. If your schedule doesn’t allow for much personal down time (that is, time not spent with family, social obligations, eating, or sleeping), then you probably feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to focus on you. The truth is, you’ll probably always be fighting for more time in the day: the key isn’t to find the time, it’s to make the time. Whether that involves making small sacrifices throughout the week or rearranging your daily schedule as much as work or family allows, being flexible and working around your other obligations is key.

Now that that’s out of the way, start by setting an attainable daily, weekly, and monthly goal. It’s a good idea to write these goals down so that you can better hold yourself accountable and to keep track of your progress and results. Try starting small with a goal that can always be changed or improved upon. Remember to keep these goals specific, yet simple and do-able. Instead of setting a goal like “lose three pounds by next month,” try aiming for “25 reps of [name of exercise] two days a week.” This will help to keep your mind on the task at hand and allow you to stick to the habits that will lead to real results—rather than focusing too much on a seemingly unattainable goal far off in the future.

It sounds obvious, but try to make your routine an integral part of your schedule as much as possible. There are several ways you can do this, but the easiest way is to set aside the same time each day to do your workout. Consistently choosing the same part of your day to work out will make it easier for your actions to turn into habits. It’s important to not stray from this time too much—the closer you stay to your set time to work out, the less likely you’ll be to forget or abandon it altogether.

Working out doesn’t have to be boring! Keep yourself motivated to stick with your workout routine by keeping things interesting. You can do this by varying the type of workouts you do from week to week and trying new things every once in a while. There are tons of videos on YouTube made by fitness trainers and enthusiasts who have come up with some pretty creative ways to get a decent workout in! Use these to your advantage and try something you’ve never done before. There’s usually more than one way to do most exercises, so why not give ’em a go and abandon the overdone jumping jacks and planks?

If possible, find a partner that can join you on your fitness journey. Bringing a friend along with you on your walks or as a workout buddy from exercise to exercise can help lift your mood and give you the push you need to keep going. Plus, they can motivate you when you’re feeling down and just be there for moral support. Fitness friends are a great way to stay on track, and they can even give you some insight on your progress along the way. Make it a goal to improve together, even if your own personal fitness goals aren’t exactly the same.

It’s easy to get down on yourself from time to time, but don’t sweat it! If you still find yourself struggling to stick with a routine, start a motivation journal that logs your goals, thoughts, motivations, and setbacks. Missed a day? Don’t let it discourage you or take away from all the progress you’ve already made. Just get back up and keep going the next day. Don’t be afraid to give yourself credit where it’s due along the way, and give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you’ve done.

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