Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning for your daily walk – and are you making up excuses to skip the gym on the way home?

Even the most dedicated people occasionally get bored with their routine. These helpful tips will help you stay motivated.

1. Set goals

Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.

For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day five days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.

2. Vary your routine or change your scenery!

Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a health club or martial arts center. Discover your hidden athletic talent.

Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.

3. Make physical activity part of your daily routine

If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity.

You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Take a walk during a break at work. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night.

4. Put it on paper

Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write down your goals. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise and writing your goals down on paper may help you stay motivated.

5. Find a workout buddy!

You’re not in this alone. Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.

6. Reward yourself

After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.

External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

7. If all else fails…
If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.