Tips for Sticking With Your Exercise Routine

This article was written in collaboration with TOVI expert, Dr. Tara Coletta. Learn more about Dr. Coletta here.

So you’ve set up an exercise routine for yourself but you’re having trouble making it stick. It happens. Exercise has lots of benefits, but there are plenty of things that can get in the way of a workout, like time, energy, or motivation.  Luckily, there are ways you can help yourself stick with it. Here are 6 tips that can help you stay on track with your exercise routine.

1. Grab an accountability buddy

Everything is more fun with friends. An accountability buddy will not only help you stay accountable, they will also make exercise fun and motivate you (especially if you’re competitive).  Ask a friend to be your ‘partner in crime’ and join in on your exercise routine.


2. Track your workouts.

Keep tabs on what workouts you’ve completed by tracking towards your goal in TOVI, or using a workout log.  When you’re struggling to find motivation, take a look and be proud of all the workouts you’ve gotten through in the past. Chances are you didn’t regret a single workout and today won’t be any different.

Bonus tip: you can also take note of how you feel after a workout (phrases like ‘re-energized’, ‘proud of myself’, and ‘like a total boss’ come to mind). Feelings can be just as motivational as metrics.


3. Add it to your calendar.

Make your workout mandatory by writing it into your schedule for the day. If you like grabbing a workout during the workday, add it to your work calendar as well, so colleagues will know you’re busy.  Be sure to prepare for your workout by bringing a quick and easy meal to eat before or after, keeping your gym bag close by, and allowing time to freshen up if you’re heading back to work afterwards. The fewer things that stand between you and your workout, the better!


4. Write down what you’re working towards.

Something is motivating you to exercise, whether its an upcoming trip, input from your doctor, or just the desire to feel better. Whatever your motivation is, write it down. Remind yourself of that motivator every time you’re tempted to “reschedule” a workout.

Bonus tip: You can keep track of what’s motivating you in TOVI from the top of your Plans page.


5. Pay for it in advance

Few things are as motivating as realizing you’ve already paid for the workout class you are now tempted to skip.  Find some fun classes and sign up ahead of time (the morning is a great time to book classes, since you’re full of energy and probably feeling motivated).  Even if you are feeling tired at the end of the day, knowing you have paid can help you stay committed. Once you finish your class, you’ll thank yourself.


6. Track your progress.

Keeping tabs on your progress is a great way to acknowledge how far you’ve come (and feel proud of yourself!). Tracking your progress doesn’t have to be connected to the number on the scale. You can keep track of simple things, like how far you can run, how many push-ups you can do, or what weight you’re using for an exercise.  


All of these tips can help you stay on track with your workouts and help you develop healthy exercise habits.  For more information on movement and exercise, check out these TOVI articles:

Topics: Fitness, Motivation

Ashley Miller-Dykeman, MA

Written by Ashley Miller-Dykeman, MA

Ashley is a science communicator and writer with a background in biology (BA, Boston University) as well as bioethics and science policy (MA, Duke University). In addition to writing for TOVI, Ashley is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a loving dog mom.