In case you missed it: This was one of Lifestyle's favourite columns of 2016

Many people struggle to stick to an exercise routine and often feel guilty about not being able to complete what they set out to achieve.

They are often fine for 2-3 weeks and then miss a day here and there and before they know it, they have not exercised for 3 weeks and feel like they are back at ground zero.

If this sounds like you, don't stress. You are not alone and there are some easy fixes to help exercise become part who you are.

1. Make it small

Turning up is more than half the battle won so rather than focus on the type and intensity of the workout, just focus on getting there.


Many of us might find this too simple or basic, but if we start with something so simple and small we are more likely to do it and make the time to complete it, rather than a long or difficult task or session.

Aim for 20 minutes of exercise three times per week of anything you like. This could be dance, fitness class, boxing, weight training, hockey, basketball, indoor netball - anything at all that is easy to get to, fun for you, and requires minimal preparation - and set yourself a goal to do this for 3 weeks.

2. Get it done first

Try not to put your precious exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important.

Although not always an option for everyone, exercise first thing in the morning is always a winner for those who have hectic schedules because it is less likely at that time of the day something else will pop up and push it to one side.

Even if it's just 15 minutes in the morning, this can do wonders for your mood, focus and energy levels for the rest of the day.

If an extra 15 or 30 minutes sleep feels more important to you, try just one day in the week to exercise instead and see if you feel better for sleeping or better for exercising, and make your informed decision.

It's about taking control and figuring out what suits you.

3. Track Yourself

Get in the habit of tracking your gym or exercise days in your diary.

Sounds silly and again way too simple but if you look and see regular ticks in your diary; you will be less likely to skip a session and break the roll you are on.

Tracking your progress also allows you to schedule in 'back-up' days so if you plan to exercise 3 days per week you can schedule in your diary 4 sessions, so if something does come up that means you miss a session, its fine as you had planned for that and can simply pick it up on your 'back-up' day.

This can help us feel empowered and in control rather than like a failure.

4. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small

Rewarding yourself for a job well done is something many of us are not so great at.

Doing something for yourself and committing to creating a healthy life is a wonderful thing and deserves recognition. It is very easy to be too busy or too bored, or focus on other things, but we truly have nothing if we do not have our health.

Try rewarding yourself every week or month with a mini massage, a pedicure or a new song from iTunes, some new workout clothes or trying a new exercise class.

You will start to enjoy making sure you get there.