Girl jumping rope in gym class

We all know we feel better when we fit in that yoga class, when we get our heart rate up in spin class, or stretch and tone in Pilates. There is the sense of accomplishment, the release of happy-making chemicals and the added bonus of feeling and looking better.

And so we may have the best intentions when setting up that gym membership or buying that class series. But following through can be elusive. In order to not make excuses or feel like getting exercise is too much of a luxury we must re-think our approach to it.

Here are some goal-setting strategies to make it easier to put your fitness plans into motion:

skinny1 Put that class in your calendar. Seriously, book it. Once it’s allotted its own specific time, you subconsciously take it more seriously. Start the habit of plugging into your agenda on Sunday night. Go through the class list, or book out an hour that is your workout time. Even if it’s just a few days a week, this way you are far less likely to blow it off.

2 Pack a gym bag. Lay out an outfit that you feel comfortable in. If you have something you feel good in to work out, you are far more likely to don it and get out there. Have a bag set the night before complete with toiletries for the shower ready to go by the door.

3 Mix it up. Try different things. Monotony can be boring. Be brave and mix up classes and teachers. Not only is the variety good for our bodies by working different muscle groups, but it’s good for our brains—we can start to feel uninspired by the same old thing. Throw in a hike, a morning jog with the dog, or a Cross Fit class. You may surprise yourself.

4 Find a workout buddy. Misery loves company, right? But seriously, committing to meet a friend at the gym or do a hike together decreases the likelihood of our blowing it off by holding us accountable. Also, it is way more fun and is a nice way to bond.

5 Set a clear goal for yourself. It should be specific and attainable. For example, your goal may be to make it to a workout four times this week, or to try three new classes. Try not to focus on pounds lost but rather, toning, endurance, and mood-boosting.

After all, FIT is the new skinny.

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