How And Why To Start Again

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been a couple months or even years since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, vacations and overtime at work all kept you from exercising. And you don’t really feel like exercising anymore.You already know that exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

  • It controls weight
  • It combats health conditions and diseases
  • It improves mood
  • It boosts energy
  • It promotes better sleep
  • It improves strength to help with prevention of injuries.
  • Harvard School says, “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.


But knowing the benefits isn’t enough.  You come up with “good” excuses. Change is hard!  Getting fit can feel overwhelming and stressful.  Before long, you don’t want to do it anymore.  So, the question is, how do you start again? The answer is attitude adjustment.  The right mindset can get you started and keep you motivated.

Here are steps to start you moving in the right direction and then to keep you going:

  • Find Your Personal Motivation to Exercise – It may be that your doctor told you that you need to exercise for health reasons.  It could be one of the reasons above.  And you know that exercising makes you a good role model for your children.  These are all good motives, but they might not be enough.  You must find your internal motivators!  Perhaps taking a yoga class leaves you feeling more energized or less stressed.  Maybe working with a trainer who has energy and keeps you interested in working out, or possibly a run or walk helps you let go of stress.  These are the kinds of rewards that are meaningful on a personal level and that can keep you determined.
  • Set Realistic Goals to Get Fit – People lose their motivation to exercise when they try to do too much too soon.  Set and write down weekly goals, gradually adding more time and intensity.  At the end of each week, take a look at how you did and how you feel.  If you reached your goal, celebrate! And if you didn’t reach your goal, think about what went wrong and how you will respond differently next time.
  • Make Room In Your Hectic Schedule –  For busy people, lack of time is a major obstacle to getting fit.  If you wait for time to open up, chances are you won’t squeeze in a walk or a fitness class.  To avoid getting sidetracked, you have to carve out blocks of time to exercise.
  • Bounce Back From Setbacks –  You’ve set a reasonable fitness goal. You’ve prepared for potential problems. Yet, you still didn’t make it to the gym today as you had planned. Don’t let that get you down.


For many, this is a slippery slope. It reminds you of times when you’ve failed before, and you see yourself as an exercise failure.

When this happens, it’s time for an attitude adjustment! If you miss the gym on Monday, that doesn’t mean your whole week is shot. It simply means you need to hit the gym on Tuesday or take the dog for an extra-long walk tonight.  There will be another Monday, and it can be the right kind of day.

Knowing how to exercise isn’t just a matter of learning how to lift weights, hold a yoga pose or swing a racquet. Foremost, it involves learning how to use your mind to propel yourself into action and stick with a fitness routine.

There are potholes on the road to fitness.  When you plan to avoid them, you’re more likely to stay on course.  If you can think through solutions to problems in advance, you won’t give up when you come to one. Think of yourself as someone who exercises.  Believe that’s who you are!  Eventually, it will become your identity.

  • The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop – Your workout routine should become so well-established that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are random, you won’t benefit from the momentum of a ritual. Create a habit.  It might take a couple of months.  Initially, try to avoid breaks in exercising since rebuilding the habit will take extra effort. Don’t quit at the first sign of trouble.  Look for your internal motivation, and call an exercise buddy or personal trainer to keep you going.


Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym; there is no effort involved.  It will take a few months to develop this habit, but once you stick with it, you will become the person you envisioned.

It’s not about having time.  It’s about making time!  The stronger you are, The better you feel!

The article has been contributed by
Juliette D. Woodmansee, owner of
Complete Fitness, Occupational Therapist
and Certified Personal Trainer.

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