You imagine being in tip-top shape, but for some reason you can’t quite find the motivation to get into the gym. You are not alone. On just about everybody’s wish list is to be in better shape, but that desire hasn’t translated into overflowing gyms, crowded running paths and a run on fresh vegetables and fruit.

Why?

First off, that’s just a common way of thinking for us human beings. It’s much easier to think about something than to do something. And thinking about it almost seems like doing something, so we feel like we have done something even when we haven’t.

But a bit part of what keeps people on the sofa is because they lack a structure for fulfilling on what they want to do. In other words, there is no plan and no real steps to take to get to the result.

Here are a few ways to create a plan, these steps will get you off the sofa and into the gym.

Create the time – Set times for you to work out. Either first thing in the morning, at lunch time or just after work. Make those workout times sacrosanct, organize life around them. That might mean no going to happy hour with the crew or skipping sleeping in, but it will keep you going to the gym. Remember: it doesn’t have to be hours upon hours. A good 30 minutes of exercise has great value.

Get support – Create a network of workout partners, and talk about fitness with peers and family members who are active. Find out how they keep motivated. Make plans to meet them for activities. Have your discussions be about working out instead of politics, sports or the weather. It’s harder to shirk a promise when others know about it. Coach them to hold you to account for your workout goals.

Set specific reachable goals – Being Mr. Universe would be great, but the goal is so far removed that you may never feel like you making progress, and as a result will quit your routine. Target a goal that’s tough but reachable, like losing 10 pounds or being able to run two miles in under 15 minutes. Or it could be workout goals, like using the stairs instead of the elevator two days a week. Increase your fitness goals once they become easy to achieve.

Reward – Pat yourself on the back (not a bad stretch by the way) for the hard work you’ve put in. Make the reward something other than food or drink. Make it instead related to your physical activities, like a new workout outfit or home weights or equipment for some sport you’ve always wanted to try. Make it fun. Play.

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