Tips for Setting (and Sticking to) Your Exercise Goals

Between work, friends, and family it can be really hard to find the time to exercise. I know how important it is, but finding that motivation can be a real challenge for me. So if it’s hard for a blogger like me who writes about health and fitness, you’re probably asking yourself, “What am I supposed to do?!”

Based on my experience, and some great input from our Registered Dietitians, I’ve put together some tips to help you set your goals and see then through.

Setting Your Exercise Goals

Researchers have found that moderate daily exercise may reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. If you are seeking general health improvement, just 30 minutes a day should do the trick. And, this thirty minutes can be broken down into 10-minute segments throughout the day. Even exercising just three times per week (if you can’t do it daily) can have benefits (mental and physical).

Long Term Goal

Start by setting your long term. What do you want to do in a year? Workout 5 times a week? Run a 5k? Do 50 pushups? When you decide on your long-term goal, write it down in a dedicated healthy-living journal where you can log your progress.

Short Term Goals

Based on the long-term goal you just identified, set smaller goals that you can use to track your progress. If your long-term goal is to run a 5k, the Couch to 5K program might work for you. If you want to work out 5 times a week, then maybe start with two times a week and increase by a day each quarter.

Journal It

The most important thing to remember is to log everything in your journal. Don’t just log in a “yes” or “no.” Write down when you worked out, what you did, how you felt before and after, etc. After a while you’ll start to see positive trends that will help you stick to the program.  Like, “on days I work out I sleep better” or “Working out first thing in the morning makes me feel more accomplished.”

Sticking to Your Goals

Becoming and staying fit is a lifelong process, so don’t become discouraged. Small steps, each day is the key and if you miss a work out don’t give up. Each day is a fresh start. The tips below should help you stick to plan and reach your goals:

  • Exercise with a friend so you have someone to “report” to. You can both help each other to stick to your routine.
  • Mix your regular training with more traditional activities so fitness is part of your everyday life, rather than a chore
  • Keep fitness magazines, books, and articles on hand for motivation and variety.
  • Plan for bad weather. Have an alternative to your usual outdoor activity so you never have an excuse to miss a workout.
  • Combine housework with more strenuous activity. For example, shuffle, squat, jog or dance while cleaning up.

Below is a general calorie chart to see how many calories are burned per hour during different activities. For more specific numbers use our Get Moving Calculator which is part of the Healthy Diet Tool Kit.


Source: adapted from WebMD and CNN

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.

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