When you have a compelling reason to get in shape, it is less challenging to commit. What could be more exciting than starting now to be in shape for the holidays? Better yet, create a new goal to ease into the New Year. Get these six steps on your calendar, and we’ll catch you on the other edge of “feeling better and in shape” for all seasons. With this type of positive motivation, you’ll likely eat better and have more energy too.

Having control over certain activities is about forming the right habits and getting these habits and goals listed on your calendar. You have the motivation that feels right to you – so now, exercising will become easier. As a result of putting this goal on your Calendar now — the whole activity will become more fulfilling and more fun.

Once you can get into a consistent exercise routine and stick with it, beautiful exercise becomes a desire.

Most lifelong runners have persevered long enough that they’ve learned to love the sport. They love the runners high and the ability to escape from everything else. The same can be said for almost any worthwhile pursuit.

I’ve never met a great pianist that instantly loved the piano. Every kid I know — hates piano practice. That’s not to say there are not many protégées who adored the piano from the first touch — I’ve just never met one.

Get in Shape for the Holidays and beyond with These 6 Steps on Your Calendar

1. Decide what your goals are and how you will measure them.

If you walk into the gym tomorrow — cold turkey — without any idea of what you are doing — it’s still better than not going. You may instead want to think about what you are aiming for, however. Do you want to lose weight? If so — how much? Do you want to build muscle? What type of muscle?

These types of questions will tell you how frequently to exercise — what to do when you are there — and how you can measure progress. You don’t have to do this part of your goal setting alone. Do a bit of computer research and talk to some knowledgeable friends. If you can find someone who wants to set a goal with you, it will help you more easily come up with a plan and goals.

The quality time spent now will eliminate the added stress of what to do when you are in the gym. In this way, you can put all of your power, emphasis, and mental energy into jumping into the motion once you hit the gym. Enjoy the process, and look forward to this intriguing aspect.

2. Choose something sustainable that will accentuate the positive in you and for you.

As you are picking your workout schedule and routines, keep it fluid. Be kind to yourself as you adjust to this new part of your life. It doesn’t matter if you are not accustomed to the type of routine you are hoping to sustain. You don’t need to be perfect nor have the perfect routine before you walk into the gym, either.

Personal power.

Merely beginning this journey will give you personal power to maintain what you are asking of yourself. If you have taken a humane approach with your new goals — even better for you, begin with something fun and easy. If you are someone who absolutely must be stiff and sore with a new routine — go ahead and do that if you want to. Gaining personal power is for you, and you can do what you want.

You can also start slowly and add on additional parts to your workout later. What you put on your Calendar is your routine, and this part of you can become sustainable over time. A gentle attitude towards yourself will also help you avoid burning out. A self-sustaining power comes through small increments of success.

Your energy levels.

In the beginning moments of excitement, you have the energy to say you will work out five days a week and eat less. But, after about three to four days — reality sets in. Some people feel overwhelmed and give up at this point.

You don’t need to feel overwhelmed — it isn’t necessarily the time to “push through.” Perhaps this may be the time to stand back and take a careful look. Now maybe the time to set yourself up for success so that when you are not feeling as strong — you can keep going.

Take a more realistic look.

You’ve seen the “ick” hit the fan — so now maybe you can pick a routine that you are more comfortable with. If you beat yourself up for missing a day — those missed days will increase, not decrease.

So what if you miss a day? Speak to yourself with respect — you know you’ll always get back to it — so you will get back to it. You can and will adapt to being able to work through the lousy days — over time. As you learn more about your body and you make better decisions — you will come up with some great habits for yourself.

3. Eliminate as many chances for excuses as you can.

In the process of actualizing your routine, you have to eliminate as many excuses as possible. There is always something else you could be doing.

There will even be something more important than exercise that will come up. There will often be valid reasons not to make it to the gym when you have committed to yourself that you will be there.

You will have to learn that you are important enough to be your number one excuse — and that you don’t need a reason to be that number one excuse.

Make you a priority.

You will want to make you a priority to you. Read that sentence again. Really — you will be able to find the time to make this exercise happen — when you are important enough to yourself.

Find an exercise pal.

Search for other tips that may help you. I’ve found an exercise pal is critical for me. But what will help you the most? Get a friend to set a goal with you — meet them at the gym. That makes it harder for you to bail.

You may be one that needs a trainer. You may be one that works out best in the morning when you have nothing else you could be doing. The list goes on, but you should give yourself the highest chance of success by eliminating excuses.

4. Find someone to hold you accountable.

It is beneficial to find someone else to help you stay accountable. There will inevitably be times when you will lack the motivation to exercise or eat making healthy choices. Having someone else in your life, whether they are doing the routines with you or not — can be there for emotional support. Finding your emotional support can be a significant boost to your accountability.

The 100-pound blanket.

For years I exercised with two friends. On cold, snowy mornings when the blankets (almost literally) gained 100 pounds and held me against my will — with Herculean effort — I could push past the blankie’s — because I knew those two would be standing on the corner, freezing their backsides off waiting for me. I wouldn’t have missed a day for anything. Also, friends can pick you up mentally when you are feeling low.

Even texting your long-distant friends every day before and after your workout can help keep you motivated through tough times.

5. Take care of your body.

A big piece in maintaining and sustainable exercise and getting healthier is to take care of your body. One part is stretching. If you work out and do not stretch, you can put yourself at risk of injury; On a smaller scale, you will be physically tighter throughout the day. Taking the time to stretch and care for your body will yield long term benefits.


Healthy eating is just as important. Dieting is for another article, but if you are not eating well, even if you are working out, you will see less progress. It can be hard to stay motivated when you are not seeing success, which emphasizes watching what you eat.

Get enough protein and the correct vitamins and minerals.

Getting enough protein and the correct nutrients doesn’t mean you toss down the vitamins and eat cookie dough all day. Eat well for sustainability.


You also cannot forget to sleep properly. Working out, especially at the onset, takes a toll on your body. You will need more sleep for your muscles to repair and your energy levels to rise back up.

Even if you are checking off the other boxes of “YAY ME,” — without enough sleep, you put yourself at risk of injury, and it is harder to motivate yourself to hit the gym consistently. Enough sleep helps you have a dominant strength of will.

6. Love yourself for the effort.

Getting into consistent exercise routines is challenging, but loving yourself through the process will help significantly.

There will be times when you lack the energy to work out, or you feel you are a big “cheat” on a meal. Hey, you are free to choose. If you eat something less than healthy — YOU ARE NOT CHEATING — YOU ARE CHOOSING — big deal.

So choose better next time.

Some people use those moments as points to give up and claim that they cannot do it. You can do it, though. In situations like this, you have to love yourself enough and realize that, for whatever the reason — you struggled a bit — big deal — you are a rockstar on most of your choices.

Moving forward with a positive and optimistic attitude will help you get over the speed bumps along the way.

You can do it.

No matter how hard it may seem, you can get into a consistent exercise routine. It may take a little adjusting to be diligent and willing to put in the energy towards this goal.

Even if you are not overweight or unhappy with your health — frequent exercise is a powerful habit. What exercise yields may be other benefits that are beyond physical health. Following the steps above and find what works best for you.