This is part of our resolutions series. Want to see more? Head here to see all of our advice for creating a healthier you.
Regular exercise helps you stay healthy, avoid illness, surgery, and depression, and live longer. No wonder it’s a popular resolution, for New Year’s and all year long!
Dr. Sheri Pruitt, a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, recommends using the SMART method to help you stick to your resolution. Here’s how you can set a SMART goal for getting more exercise:
SET achievable and measurable goals. No one goes from the couch to running marathons without baby steps and time — so don’t expect that from yourself! Start off small — add an extra walk to your daily routine, or take the stairs. Getting fit doesn’t have to mean starting a new Crossfit regimen.
MONITOR your progress. Make a fitness journal and record when you work out — or when you don’t. Knowing when you stick with it or fall short can help you adjust your routine.
ARRANGE your life for success. Find a gym that’s close to home. Or take up a new exercise habit that doesn’t require any equipment or money — like walking around the neighborhood or getting in a swim at your local beach.
RECRUIT help. Find a fitness buddy to join you on your workouts. And share the graphic below so friends and family can check in with you and help cheer you on.
TREAT yourself. Enjoy a healthy smoothie post-workout, or reward a month of daily jogs with a new pair of running shorts. When you reward yourself, you’ll be more likely to keep going with your new healthy habit.