Deciding you want to start an exercise program is a wonderful first step, but only the first of many. One of the things you may struggle with during your exercise journey is staying motivated. After all, it is one thing to tell yourself you want to exercise, it is entirely another if the only time you can do it is at 6 AM, and the buzzer is going off. Below are some ideas to consider for helping to stay motivated.

Keep track of your progress. Whether you use a fitness tracker or a calendar, keep track of how much you’re accomplishing. It can be incredibly motivating to know that you are moving forward with your goals and seeing it is part of that process.

Focus on your own progress. Never try to compare yourself to the person on the treadmill next to you. People are all on their own exercise journeys and trying to match up to one another will never help. You can be better than you were yesterday by engaging in exercise – that is enough.

Get support. How could your family and friends not want to support you in trying to make your life better? Don’t be afraid to let the world know in person or via social media. If people criticize or can’t support your goals – then they aren’t true friends.

Make it fun. Exercise does not have to be a drag. Do a cardio class with a friend - exercising with a friend can make it more enjoyable. Decide to shake up your exercise routine by doing something different. Try a sport like disc golf that gets you outside in the fresh air with friends. Involves others in your progress. It will be good for you, and for them.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Missed a workout? Everyone does. Missed a week of workouts? Yes, that happens too. Everyone will run into a time when it can be tough to get your exercise sessions in. Give yourself a break and realize that it happens to everyone, but the difference between those that make exercise a habit and those that don’t are what happens after you hit a roadblock the derails your program for a day or two (or a week). Take the next day a little easier in your program and get right back to it.