When it comes to exercise, quality always comes before quantity. In order to have an effective and worthwhile regimen, it’s important to identify some key factors that help you stay committed to achieve your desired results. Take the following steps to ensure that you get what you want while protecting your body and enjoying the journey along the way.

1. Identify your goals

Knowing why you’re making a commitment to exercising will make a huge difference in keeping your motivation and resolve strong. Is it to lose weight? Have more energy? Improve your self-esteem? Add a little variety into your routine? Dig deep and ask yourself why exercise will benefit you specifically, and what role you want it to play in your life.

Having a specific reason as to why you’re pushing yourself and knowing what you’re working towards will keep you on track and moving in the right direction. It connects you to your exercise and makes it personal, which dramatically improves your experience and your results.

2. Set a realistic framework

Trying to go from no exercise to five workouts a week is almost a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. The only why to make fitness and exercise part of your life is to find something you enjoy and make a commitment in a doable and actionable way.

To begin with, find ways of working out that you enjoy and that you know you’ll do. Whether it’s just twenty minutes of stairs or an evening bike ride, start light and chose things that you can connect with and enjoy. As you get more confident in your routine, you’ll naturally be able to take on more ambitious goals. Starting out, the main goal is to make sure that you incorporate something into your routine that you can stick to and enjoy.

3. Know what you’re doing

A lot of times working out can seem daunting because we don’t know how to start, or how to do it properly. The best way to get motivated is to work with an expert in any capacity.

Ask an athletic friend if you can work out with them a couple of times, take a class with a knowledgeable instructor in your area, or get a personal training session from a trainer at your gym. Learning from an expert will give you confidence in what you’re doing, and make it a lot more enjoyable. It also reduces the likelihood that you’ll injure yourself or have extreme muscle soreness, both of which take away from your ability to keep showing up to your workouts.

4. Get adventurous

The world is full of excitement and challenges, be it climbing a mountain, completing a triathlon, or kayaking around an island. Getting outside of your comfort zone and using nature as a playground is an amazing way to feel inspired and moved to take charge of your fitness. Find something that calls to you and organize out a plan to work towards it, or find a group to train with.

5. Get a support group

Having people that help you stay accountable for what your fitness will make a huge difference in the progress that you make and the pace at which you accomplish your goals. Find like-minded, driven people that can help you stay on track. Getting with a tribe that makes the challenge of exercise fun and exciting will enable you to enjoy it, and achieve your goals.

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