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Science-Based Ways to Stick to Your Fitness Routine

It’s winter. Why is it so hard to get off the sofa? Here are 5 proven ways to stay motivated to move.

Wake up early.

According to a study published in Health Pscychology, morning is the best time to develop a health habit. Why? Because your cortisol levels are higher, giving you a natural rev of energy. As the day goes on, decisions and activities can slowly start to erode your willpower. Get it out of the way first thing, no excuses.

Find a buddy or two.

Research shows that people who work out with a partner exert more effort and spend more time exercising than those who go it alone. When you’re connecting with others who share your goals, you’re more likely to have fun and forget that you’re even exercising. Breaking a sweat with others not only holds you more accountable – it also provides you with built-in support and encouragement.

Sign a contract with a friend.

It’s been proven that people are much more likely to follow through on commitments if we announce them to friends. Share your goal with someone who won’t let you off the hook and sign a contract in front of them. You can even up the ante by agreeing to pay them a certain amount of money if you don’t fulfill the contract.

Focus on the process, not the end goal.

Instead of saying “I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” vow to “work out on Mondays and Wednesday at noon,” for example. One study in the U.K. found that people who have a process goal are significantly more likely to stick to their workout routine that those who focus on big-picture upshot like losing weight.

Reward yourself for real.

Make the benefits of working out more tangible. Treat yourself to a little binge-watching or a healthy smoothie after. Even a nap is okay. Some research indicates that taking a nap two hours post-workout is an excellent way to boost muscle recovery.

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