This Lark mission, “Staying Active,” is about sticking to your physical activity plan and goals. Remembering your reasons for being active and knowing what exercise can do for you are some ways to increase your chances of keeping it up. Another way to keep it up is to celebrate your successes, as the most recent Lark DPP suggested, by recognizing your progress and using incentives.
Compare Then and Now
Having stuck with Lark DPP for a while now, you have probably made some progress. Sometimes progress is easy to see, but sometimes it feels like progress is lacking. Stopping to check exactly how far you have come since committing to your health can be not only interesting and a validation of your efforts, but rewarding in itself.
Try to think back to what you could do at the beginning of the program to what you can do now. Could you walk around the block? Was it easy to walk up stairs? Were you comfortable walking into the gym or standing in the front row of a group fitness class? Were you able to keep up with your grandchildren for a day?
Setting rewards for reaching milestones or being consistent can help with long-term exercise habits. They could be periodic, such as getting a massage or buying a new workout top if you exercise for at least 30 minutes on at least 20 different days. They could also be for reaching milestones, such as getting a new pair of shoes the first time you run a mile without stopping.
Why wait for days or weeks to give yourself rewards when you can have them every day? Small rewards can be as valuable in keeping you exercising on a daily basis. They may not even cost money or take time, although some can. These are some examples of small rewards to consider when you exercise.
- Pairing exercise with a day trip, such as playing volleyball at a favorite beach location or walking around town before hitting the outlet mall.
- Sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea in a quiet place for a few minutes after finishing your workout.
- Stretching outdoors in the sun afterwards.
- Going out to breakfast or dinner – not for junk food, but as a break from cooking.
Rewards can also come during the workout. For example, workout time could be time to watch a favorite movie or TV show, or to talk to a friend or relative on the phone without being interrupted or distracted.
Motivation is the name of the game when it comes to being physically active, and there are all kinds of tricks you can use to boost motivation. Along with remembering your reasons for getting active, celebrating your successes and giving yourself rewards can help.