A new year has arrived, and with it, a fresh chance to achieve your goals and improve your life. Unsurprisingly, the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to “get healthy.” If this is your resolutions too, then one of the most powerful steps you can take to achieve it is to create a workout schedule.
If you’ve tried and failed to achieve New Year’s resolutions in the past, you are not alone. According to, over 80% of people fail in their good intentions by the second week in February. One of the reasons that so many people fall off the wagon is because they don’t set themselves up to succeed.
By creating a workout schedule and organizing your life to support your new fitness goal, you can turn working out into a fun habit that you actually look forward to. Here’s how to create and maintain your fitness schedule in five easy steps.
Step One – Create an Achievable Workout Schedule
If your New Year’s resolution is to simply “get healthy,” then you are immediately setting yourself up for failure. Why? Because this goal is too generic.
Instead, think about creating a SMART goal. SMART stands for:
A few examples of a SMART goal are:
- I will contact a dietitian by the end of the week and schedule a consultation
- I will eat out at restaurants only one night per week
- I will work out for one hour three times a week
- I will lose one pound per week
Setting your SMART goals can be as simple as deciding how many days you would like to work out a week and how long you would like your session to be. If you have not been a consistent exerciser in the past, a great goal is to work out for 30 minutes three days a week.
Special Tip: Make your goal as visible as possible. Write it on a postcard and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Tell your friends and family about it to hold yourself publicly accountable.
Step Two: Choose a Day and Time and Stick with It
The key to changing your life in a positive way is consistency. You may feel extremely motivated by your new goal in the beginning, but eventually, the everyday stresses of life get in the way. Your old habits begin trying to pull you back, and you slowly but surely lose all your momentum if you don’t ease into your New Year’s fitness plan.
To prevent this from happening, decide right now which days of the week will work out and what time you will exercise on those days. Write these dates and times into your schedule. Try to choose the same time on each workout day.
Many people love working out in the morning. They make it the first thing they do when they get out of bed. This helps them start the day feeling energized and gives them a “win” at the beginning of the day.
Other people enjoy working out in the evening. If you are a night owl, just make sure you pick a specific workout time and don’t let anything pull you away from this goal. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Don’t think about it. Just follow your schedule.
Special Tip: Block out your workout times on your calendar. This is an appointment with yourself to become healthier and to improve your quality of life. Don’t sabotage yourself by believing other priorities should come before your workout.
Step Three: Turn Your Workout Schedule into a Habit
You brush your teeth every morning, and you don’t need to find the time to do that or force yourself to pick up the brush and squeeze on the toothpaste. It’s all just automatic. Why? Because you’ve developed the habit.
The true magic to improving your life is to develop positive life habits. If you can trade bad habits for good habits without having to think and expend your limited self-control, you can utterly transform your life.
The secret ingredient to building a habit is consistency. You need to do the hard work of performing the positive action again and again until it turns into habit. Some researchers suggest that it only takes 21 days, but other research indicates that more difficult habits take a longer time to set in, even.
As you create your workout schedule, give yourself the goal of meeting all of your workout appointments for one week. Then repeat for the next week and the next. When you wake up in the morning and hit the gym or go right after work instead of driving home, you are creating a new path in your mind. Each time you complete a workout, that path becomes deeper and deeper. In a few weeks, it should feel easy to go to the gym.
Step Four: Make It as Easy as Possible to Stick to Your Workout Schedule
Stick to your workout schedule, and you will eventually form a positive habit that will allow you to meet your fitness goals. This is so much easier said than done, especially because life has a way of getting in the way.
Sometimes even the smallest barrier can be the thing that tips the scale and prevents you from making your workout appointment with yourself. Help yourself stick to your workout schedule by anticipating and eliminating potential barriers that could cause you to veer off the path of self-improvement.
Here are just a few tips to make it easier to stick to your workout schedule:
Prep for the day ahead
If you work out first thing in the morning, set out your workout clothes and prep your gear. If you exercise out after work, pack your gym bag and put it in your trunk.
Enlist a workout buddy
Recruit a workout buddy who will meet you at the gym or who will run or walk or even show up at your home to do yoga. If you can’t convince someone to be your workout partner, at least find a friend or family member who is willing to serve as your accountability buddy. Report your progress to this person once a week. Just knowing that you’ll have to face them at the end of the week will help you make the right decision to stick to your workout plan.
Build a home gym
Creating a home gym makes it that much easier to make the right decision to workout. Building a home gym doesn’t have to require tons of extra space in your home or a lot of money. Start small. As you improve, start purchasing other equipment to give you more exercise options. Consider purchasing some resistance bands and/or dumbbells. Add in a barbell and kettlebell when you get more comfortable. Keep adding equipment, one piece at a time, as your space and budget allow.
Special Tip: Here’s a great article on how to stay motivated during those challenging workout days.
Step Five: Mix It Up
One big mistake many newbie exercisers make when they put together their first workout schedule is to develop one workout and then stick to it without introducing variation.
Fitness doesn’t need to be boring. Your body will respond better, and you’ll see results more quickly when you challenge yourself with different kinds of stimulation. For example, consider spending one day per week focused on strength training. Then spend the next workout day on cardio training that will lift your heart rate. Devise a circuit exercise routine that includes different exercises, different sets, and different weights. Don’t give your body the chance to adapt, and you’ll see your rate of improvement and overall fitness soar!
Gradually adding new pieces of fitness equipment to your home gym can also help you spice up your workouts and keep them interesting.
At the end of the day, creating a workout schedule can help you succeed in your New Year’s Resolution while 80% of your fellow U.S. citizens fail. However, you’ll only be successful if you make the commitment to consistently follow your schedule. When it gets hard, just remember the magic of building a habit. The more you hit your workouts, the easier it will be to do the next one and the next one after that.
Lean on Marcy to building a home gym that can assist you in reaching your health and fitness goals. We are here to help you get healthy in the new year!