The four keys to sticking with your exercise plan:
Have Fun-Choose an activity that is satisfying, not just for the benefits it promises. You=ll be more likely to stick with it after the newness has worn off. Emphasize the Awant@ rather than Ashould@ in your choices of activity. Satisfaction comes from achieving a level of competence, or from simply performing an activity.
Find a Friend-It=s okay to grit your teeth and be determined to do it on your own, but the support network is important, whether it=s at home, in the exercise class or in the work environment. To keep your progress consistent, be accountable to a friend. Your friend will encourage you to continue when you don=t feel like it.
Write It Down- Knowing exactly how much exercise you are getting as well as how often makes it harder to slack off. Without a record, it is easy to overestimate your activity level and to let other things interfere.
Make It Important-People who make exercise a priority rather than an Aadd-on@ are likely to integrate it into their lives and keep it there. Having a regular workout time also helps. A flexible workout schedule often backfires--once a person has missed one session, it=s easier to miss others.
Article by Courier Communications--submitted April 10, 1997.