New Year, New You? My 5 Tips for Sticking with Exercise

As a fitness instructor, I’m always super excited about the 1st of the year.  My classes and every other instructor’s classes will be PACKED in January!  I’m as equally disappointed to see attendance numbers start to dwindle back to normal by the end of February.  As the excitement of the “new year, new me” resolutions fades,  so many people settle back into their pre-New Year resolution routines – that don’t include exercise.  I always want to reach out to them and say “Don’t give up! You’re so close the sweet spot!”

Many times, people give up on exercise before they strike gold.  That “sweet spot” where you’re seeing results and your body actually starts to crave the endorphin rush you get from exercise.



If your goal is to lose weight, cutting calories and modifying your eating habits will do it.  But diet is only one part of the equation.  Exercise helps you maintain lean muscle mass (so you don’t look “skinny fat”) and strenghtens your cardiovasucular system for overall better health.  While reading an article on Spark People about “how to stay motivated to exercise all year long”, I was inspired to share my own tips for how to stick with exercise so you don’t crash and burn.

My 5 Fab Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise:

  1. Start small. Spark People recommends doing 20 jumping jacks. Great idea! You can do them high or low impact, just set your goal to do 20.  Another option (and the one I actually prefer) is to just do a warmup.  You can find several warm-up routines  on my YouTube channel or simply do the warmup from your favorite fitness program.  An added benefit of selecting the warm up option is, instead of diving head first into a jumping jack, you do a series of light exercises that gradually warm and stretch your muscles, preparing your body for bigger movements.  This can be a safer option since you should exercise cold muscles.
  2. Track your fitness minutes. This can serve as a fun, mini-competition with yourself, giving you a small goal to strive for each day.  For example, my Fitbit is set to 10,000 steps a day.  So each day, my minimum goal is to get in at least 10,000 steps. A lot of times, I’ll reach (and surpass) my goal during class and I’ll shout out “Just met my 10,000 steps! Who else met their fitness goal today?” I take every opportunity to motivate class members to stay on track towards their fitness goals. What I also love about Fitbit are the regular “wanna take a stroll?” reminders to get up and move (I think these are SO cute!) and the ability to measure and track your progress over time.
  3. Look at an old picture.  Facebook’s “On this Day” memories feature is a blessing and a curse. It will NOT let your past stay the past. I’ll inevitably see a picture of me I thought was cute when I posted it, but when I see it today, I’m like “Girl, what were you thinking??”  On the flip side, those pictures show me how far I’ve evolved and motivate me to keep pushing in the right direction. Your inspiration photo can be an old photo of you at a weight you’d like to get back to.  Or, perhaps even more motivating, a picture of you at your highest weight to which you never want to get back to. For me, the latter is the best motivator to stop eating crap IMMEDIATELY! Choose the pic of you that will most inspire you to exercise and  make it the screen saver on your phone.  Just make sure it’s a picture of you. I don’t recommend using a pic of someone else because not only is comparing yourself to others mentally unhealthy, we’re all made differently, so it also can be unrealistic.
  4. Schedule your workouts on your calendar. Start out with something practical, like 3 days a week so you don’t crash and burn. Also, schedule your workouts at a time when you know you’ll get it done.
  5. Sweat to the beat. Put together a workout playlist on your phone of songs that make you want to dance! When I use to do intervals on my treadmill, I’d use a specific number of songs as my timer. You can either do the whole playlist or just 2 or 3 songs. It works!

Below are some videos I’ve posted over the years that are still relevant today. Watch them, write down your goals and make this year your healthiest year yet!  



Written by MaShelle Dean
Hey Fam! I'm MaShelle, your Fit & Fabulous Coach. I'm an AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor and lifestyle blogger living in Atlanta with my husbae, Ron. The Jiggle Free Zone is the place to come for fitness inspiration, product reviews, and workout proof hair tutorials. Be sure to sign up for the Fit & Fab newsletter so you never miss my tips on living a #fitandfabulous life!