Last week, I made a decision to create a new routine in my life. This decision was inspired by the 100 Day Change project hosted by Julie at Girl on the Move. This project focuses on creating a routine in your life by committing to something for 100 days. Julie created a new routine of running daily using this method and she wanted to inspire others to set new, healthy habits in their lives as well. I decided to commit to exercising daily for at least 30 minutes. (Within this, I schedule active rest days with yoga to give my muscles a break.)
Today marks 10 days of sticking to a daily routine. I’ve tried setting an exercise routine before and I always give up around this time. By now, I normally would have skipped a day. I decided it was time to ask myself “What’s different this time?” The answer to this question was much simpler than I expected.
I’m going to start with some of the tips that I’ve used every time I try to establish an exercise routine. These work well, but not all on their own. The last tip I give you is the one that’s been the game changer for me this time.
1. Find a workout you love.
I once decided that I wanted to be one of these girls that runs daily. Movies always show girls running and looking so fit and happy. So, I set out to run every day. I believe it lasted two days. I gave up for one very simple reason – I didn’t enjoy running. (Kudos to those that do!) Last summer, I decided to try out pole fitness for a five week period before I moved. I found a studio, committed to the time and found myself obsessed. I was going to five or seven classes a week, sometimes even two classes in one day! It wasn’t that it was easy – I had bruises and sore muscles after every class. It was simply that I enjoyed it – I wanted to exercise. You’re going to have a hard time sticking to something that doesn’t bring you a little bit of joy. Make exercise fun – not another chore on your list.

2. Create a fun playlist or station.
Music is a great motivator. It sets the town and can even make us happy. With Spotify and Pandora available, there’s no shortage of musical options for a workout. Create a playlist or station with your favorite songs and artists that gets you up and moving. Make it a part of your workout routine and your body will be ready to move when it hears the songs on your playlist.

3. Try New Things
Don’t be afraid to try a new workout. Most gyms offer the first class for free or highly discounted so that you can try it out before you commit. (Even Beachbody offers a free trial for their home workouts!) Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying out pole fitness and barre classes has been the best thing I’ve done. I thought I might enjoy them but I had no idea I would fall in love with them. Spice up your old exercise routine with something new. Boredom is a sure way to lose motivation.

4. Find a buddy
Friends and family can be great motivators. Find someone you can workout with. Lately, I’ve been going to barre classes with a friend and it makes it so much harder to cancel on someone than to cancel on myself. If working out with a friend isn’t an option, find someone you can check in with to say “Have you done your workout today?” A little healthy peer pressure doesn’t hurt when it comes to setting an exercise routine.  Don’t have a buddy around? Check out my free health and fitness group – Healthy Moments.

5. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
This tip was the game changer for me. In the past, I found myself giving up if I had a bad day of eating or missed a workout. It seemed that one mistake led to more mistakes until eventually I’d forgotten about my routine and commitment altogether. When I make a mistake and start to feel guilty about it, I tell myself “I am a work in progress.” This reminds me that I’m not perfect and I make mistakes. I’m working towards a better lifestyle but I can’t expect me to change all of my bad habits in a day. Allow yourself the freedom to make and overcome mistakes. Accept that you’re not perfect.