How to Stay Motivated to Get Healthy

You started off the new year with the best of intentions, setting resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more often. But now that reality has set in, you need to know how to stay healthy.

It happens every year—people set lofty goals for themselves and then falter the first time they hit resistance. That’s particularly easy to do when it comes to health-related goals.

Maybe you went to the gym diligently for a couple weeks, but then got a cold on week 3 and had to skip your workouts. It’s all too easy to abandon ship at that point.

In fact, it can be downright challenging to stick with your goals when challenges emerge and life gets in the way. Finding the right motivation can make a big difference. Try these tips to find your mojo:

Make yourself a priority

If you had an appointment with the doctor or a big meeting at work, you’d schedule those times on your calendar. Do the same for your “me time.”

Build in time in your schedule each week to exercise, to grocery shop for healthy foods, to hit up that local farmers market for fresh produce and even to take a long soak in the tub.

In order to get healthy and stay that way, you have to make a commitment to yourself. Schedule it in—and don’t cancel!

Start slow and build up

If you’ve never exercised before or usually eat a diet filled with fast food, diving headfirst into your health resolution can set you up for failure. Instead, create incremental goals—like adding another vegetable to your dinner—and then stack those goals on top of each other.

Over time, achieving those small goals will set you up for big success. In the process of making tiny changes to your daily routines, you’re creating long-lasting habits. Be consistent: It takes several weeks for a habit to take hold.

Find workouts you enjoy

You aren’t going to stick with something you hate, whether it’s a workout routine or a certain food. The trick to living a healthy lifestyle is finding things you really enjoy.

When you’re getting started with an exercise routine, try out a variety of exercises. You may find that you prefer solo exercise with dumbbells to a workout class. For best results, do a blend of exercises that work your heart (cardiovascular) and strength training exercises (that work your other muscles).

What are the most effective exercises? The ones you’ll do consistently! To keep yourself engaged and build your fitness over time, mix things up occasionally. Change up the actual exercises, try out a new class, or vary your reps and sets in a strength training routine.

Choose a time that works for you

While some folks love a good morning exercise routine, others aren’t awake enough to get in a workout in the morning. There’s good news, though: The best time of day to exercise is whenever you can get in a workout!

There’s a lot of research out there about when to exercise for the best results, but there’s no conclusive data to show that any time of day is better than another. So, you can reap the benefits of a morning walk or morning run—and equally benefit if you squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or take a walk after dinner.

Try exercising at different times of day. You’ll quickly determine whether a morning workout gives you an energy boost or whether you can benefit from a little extra time in bed.

Subscribe icon
Get health living and wellness information, recipes, and patient stories from University Health.
View other related content by:

Tell us your patient story

Share your inspiring personal story of hope and healing at University Health.