Trying to figure out how to create a workout routine that sticks? We have all been there before — including me! You know… choosing a few different times a year to start a workout routine to lose weight or just to create a healthy lifestyle, in general.
In the beginning, you are all excited + pumped to jump feet-first into a workout routine so you can look + feel better each week! You make it a month, a week, or maybe just a few days + somehow you’re back to your old ways. Then, you dread working out + lose all motivation to even want to start trying to create a workout routine all over again.
What gives? How do other people create workout routines that last months + even years? What’s the secret to making it stick?
This is a common question I get from women + I know they are not alone in wondering what they need to do. So, I am going to give you my best tips to help you create a habit of working out regularly.
In this blog post, I break down X things you need to do to create a workout routine that actually sticks.
1 | Have Clear “Whys”
Before you even attempt to start a workout routine, you need to get clear on your “Whys.” Why is it so important that you create a workout routine? What are your goals? Yes, you might want to lose weight or get healthy. That’s what most people say. But, dig deeper + put things at stake.
- To feel more confident, energized, + happy every day so I can be my best self.
- To set an example for my children so they can create healthy habits, too.
- To live a long life + ward off disease/illness so I can be there for those I love.
2 | Start Small + Build Over Time
This is the #1 mistake people make when starting a new workout routine. It’s very rare that the “all in” mentality works over time. Yes, it does for a select few. But, most of us [including me] don’t thrive off of drastic habit/routine changes. Instead, focus on starting small + very slowly building over time.
Meaning… start with 1-2 workouts a week. Then, move to 2-3 a few weeks later. Move to 3-4 possible a few weeks [or even months]. The slower you add your workouts, the more it’ll become a part of your everyday life. You can even start with 10-15 minute workouts + gradually build to 30-40 minute workouts over time. Even just start with walking for 2-3 months + then adding actual workouts. Again, take it slow!
3 | Sit Down + Make A Plan Every Week
Every week, choose one day that you sit down + make a clear plan of the week for your movement/workouts. I say movements because I believe planning how many steps you take a day is also crucial when it comes to creating fitness habits. It IS working out! Your body thrives off of being in motion. It helps your blood flow, your digestion, + your mental state. Workouts are a major bonus! So, plan them all out.
The more clear [+ realistic] of a plan you have in place + the more likely you’ll stick to it. Display it on your fridge, on your nightstand, your closet, or the inside of your bathroom cabinet where you can see it. Click HERE for exactly how I plan my workouts every week!
- Related: HOW I PLAN MY WORKOUTS EVERY WEEK
4 | Find Workouts You Enjoy
The workout routine you actually enjoy is the one you will stick to. Now, I am not going to ever tell you that you should love to work out! But, you should not absolutely dread workouts that you do. If you feel that way, you are most likely doing a workout that is too difficult, too long, in the wrong environment, during the wrong time of day, or one that’s just plain boring to you.
Get in the habit of experimenting with different types to find what you enjoy. Here are some examples:
- Weight lifting
- Workout videos
- Printed workout plans
- Workout apps
- Running, sprinting, + jogging
- Hiking + mountain climbing
- Yoga, pilates, + barre
- Zumba + other dance workouts
- Treadmill workouts
5 | Keep Libraries Of Workouts
Keeping libraries of workouts + a great way to make working out a habit over time. It’s part of being prepared + having a plan! I say “libraries” because you don’t need to keep your workouts all in one place. Especially since there are so many different types/platforms of workouts to follow out there. You want to have these so when it’s “back/bicep” day, you know where to pick from. Same if you are doing yoga at home or at a studio. You should have videos on-hand or a class schedule to choose from.
Here are examples of places you can keep workouts stored:
- Pinterest boards
- YouTube playlists
- Instagram folders
- iNotes [types out workouts]
- Computer folder [PDFs of workouts]
- Bookmarked blog posts
6 | Switch It Up Frequently
This tip is simple, but very crucial. Don’t let yourself get bored because you WILL end up straying from your workout routine habit if you don’t keep it interesting. Plus, your body adapts to workouts you do often + you’ll see a decline in progress. So, switch up what type of workouts you do frequently.
For me? I like doing lifting one week + then videos the next. Some months I will do more yoga/barre/pilates + others I will go outside + do physical activities as workouts to enjoy the weather. Don’t get stuck in a rut or be afraid to take a new class you’ve never taken before!
7 | Set Yourself Up For Success
Planning is the secret to success in any aspect of life. If you don’t plan to succeed you plan to fail! For working out, do whatever you need to do to make getting your workout done as easy + seamless as possible. I have a whole blog post on setting up your environment to make any habit stick. Click HERE to read it.
Here are some ways you can set yourself up for success when creating a new workout routine + maintaining it:
- Sit down 1 day a week + plan all your workouts.
- Know the exact times you’re working out.
- Build a library of workouts.
- Get your workout things together the night before [lay out your clothes, take out your sneakers, pack a gym bag, fill your water bottle, etc].
- Set-up/clean up your at-home workout space in advance.
8 | Get It Over With ASAP + Be Consistent
Switching to becoming a morning workout person has been absolutely everything for me, especially once I became a mom. It just takes waking up an hour earlier every day! If for some reason this isn’t feasible for your schedule, I just recommend you get your workout over as soon as possible as early as you can each day. The longer you wait, the more time you give yourself to make excuses for being too tired, busy, etc.
Also, the workout routine that sticks is going to be the workout routine that is done consistently every day. That means, as much as you possibly can, make a date with yourself to workout the same exact time every single day that you work out. If you follow me right now on Instagram Stories, you will see I post between 5:50-6:10am every day getting on the treadmill for my morning walk! Consistency is KEY.
9 | Create An Accountability System
No matter how good of a routine you build using the tips I have outlined above, your routine will not stick unless you set up an accountability system. Humans are easily distracted + are really good at breaking promises to ourselves through little excuses every day. So, we really need the support of those around us to keep us going!
You need to make sure you pick the right person/people to be your cheerleaders. The best way to do this is to set up a specific time/place you will check in with them every day or week [i.e. send a text + a picture every time you work out]. Click HERE for an entire blog post on choosing an accountability system.
10 | Focus On The “After Feeling”
When you feel like you want to click snooze, sleep in, + skip a work out you have planned, lean on focusing on that “after feeling.” Meaning, that feeling right after you finish a good work out. No one ever ends their workout feeling worse than before [unless you injured yourself!]. Most of the time, you feel more energized, happy, confident, + proud of yourself!
Focus on THOSE specific feelings when you think about making an excuse to break a promise to work out with yourself. If that isn’t enough, contact your accountability partner!
11| Keep Track Of Your Progress
The best way to reach any of your goals or to build any habits is to accurately keep progress of what you’re doing + the results you’re getting. That can be in various different forms. But, when you visually see what you’re doing vs what you’re not doing, it will help motivate you on your healthy lifestyle journey. Click HERE to see how I plan my goals + habits!
Here are some ways to keep track of your progress:
- Keep a goal/habit tracker.
- Keep track of when you do your workouts + when you don’t.
- Journal your feelings/mindset over time.
- Measure your body with measuring tape once a month.
- Measure your body with your clothes.
- Weigh yourself.
- Take progress pictures.
12 | Give Yourself Time To See Results
Even though all the above advice is very important + works, your mindset needs to be in the right place. Good things take time. That includes creating a workout routine that lasts + works for you, personally. So, give yourself time to not only figure out the right workout plan for you. But, also give yourself the time it takes to see results.
You WILL feel results almost immediately based on your mindset + energy levels. But, physically seeing results can take weeks + even months. But, with work + consistency they absolutely will show up. Remember: creating a healthy lifestyle has no finish line. It’s a journey for life!
- Related: 8 FREE AT-HOME WORKOUTS