A fitness program may need to be adjusted to accommodate the requirements of different life stages.

Getting Your Fitness Program

Lapses are a normal part of any behavior change program. The important point is to move on and avoid becoming discouraged. Try again and keep trying. Know that continued effort will lead to success. Here are some tips to help you keep going:

• Don’t judge yourself too harshly, especially in comparison with others. Some people make faster gains in fitness than others. Focus on the improvements you’ve already made from your program and how good you feel after exercise both physically and mentally.

• Visualize what it will be like to reach your goals. Keep these images in mind as an incentive to stick with your program.


• Use your exercise journal to identify thoughts and behaviors that are causing noncompliance. Devise strategies to combat these problematic patterns. If needed, make additional changes in your environment or find more social support. For example, call a friend to walk with you, or keep exercise clothes in your car or backpack.

• Make changes in your plan and your reward system to help renew enthusiasm for and commitment to your program. Try changing fitness activities or your exercise schedule. Build in more opportunities to reward yourself.

• Plan ahead for difficult situations. Think about what circumstances might make it tough to keep up your fitness routine. Develop strategies to increase your chances of sticking with your program. For example, figure out ways to continue your program during vacation, travel, bad weather, and so on.

• If you’re in a bad mood or just don’t feel like exercising, remind yourself that physical activity is probably the one thing you can do that will make you feel better. Even if you can only do half your scheduled workout, you’ll boost your energy, improve your mood, and help keep your program on track.

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