I think the hardest part about getting into a new routine is breaking your old routine. I've now been consistently working out (3-5 times a week every week) for a full year. I'll admit there have been a couple of weeks of doing diddly-squat but I never went for long. And here are a few things that worked for me to get on this new regime.
One - Be forced to do it and find a professional to teach you.
I'm not kidding. Which one of us willingly does this every week for a whole year even once we've met our goals? My year got started by joining a training program where I would meet once a week with a real trainer to get tips and a workout schedule. Since I was accountable to get on that scale in front of a real person every week my own self-worth knew I had to actually work hard to achieve results. I was accountable to someone I didn't know and therefore couldn't be resentful towards. Such as if it were my husband I would eventually start thinking - well aren't you supposed to love me fluff and all?
Two - When you don't see the results that you want realize that this is a process.
I started off ok with my training program. Lost a few pounds and then there was nothing. For WEEKS there was nothing. I was working hard and my diet was pretty darn good. And the scale had nothing to show for it. But what I could see was that my endurance was beginning to build. I didn't feel like my heart was going to explode after 20 minutes of cardio. I could see my strength building in the weights I could handle. I felt better about myself in general. After 10 weeks I only lost 4 pounds. But after another month I had lost close to 15. My body was doing weird things - I blame hormones - but I kept going.
Three - Finding time to do it.
I work full time, have 2 young children, and a husband. I have t.v. shows that I MUST watch every week. I don't wake up early and working out past 7 pm rarely happens in my world. Finding time to workout can be difficult BUT my job is flexible. I can take a little extra time at lunch, or come in late/leave early to fit in a workout. Really the majority of my workouts happen at lunch. It means I sweat a lot and have to come back to work but there are such things as showers, body spray, and deodorant. I'm not a girly-girl so it doesn't matter that my hair and make-up aren't perfect. They rarely are. :) Since I've started to run I've also dedicated 1-2 hours every weekend for a run. This is fantastic for me and not so great for my husband. But I've found that when I do run I feel better and am better able to handle the stresses of my kids and housework. I don't feel like it's too much to ask and try to give the same time back to my husband. I also work at a university that has a great rec center with some really fantastic equipment and group aerobic classes. I take full advantage of the resources that are available to me - this also makes it easier to get lunch time workouts. For you it might be different but you have to find what works for you. We all have excuses so that's why it's important to go back to number one on my list - be forced to do it.
Four - Find your support.
You need a cheerleader. Find friends or family that will celebrate every accomplishment with you. That's why I love when my friends read my blog and comment on it. It really does help me to force myself out the door to exercise when I'd rather be sitting on my butt. If you need a cheerleader I will be it!! I have pom-poms and everything.
Five - Make a reasonable goal and once again remember that it' s a process.
We all want to lose 20 lbs and run a marathon. But this takes too long for us to achieve before most of us will quit. So instead make a smaller reasonable goal. 5 pounds, a 5k, one smaller dress size. Don't plan anything that will take beyond 10 weeks to achieve. Short reasonable goals make you happy and help you set new goals. Eventually you'll get to that 20 lbs and marathon if you keep working. For me once I ran 5k and then knew I could run a 10k the thoughts of being able to run a marathon were suddenly a reality but I'm not pushing myself to do that yet (despite an earlier post where I wondered out loud). This is a lifetime of fitness that I've embarked on and that I've come to enjoy. I can afford to work up to a marathon and to do well at it rather than just run it for the sake of finishing it. I see improvements in my running every month. I'm going faster and farther and only time can tell how much better I can do.
I spent over 10 years of my teens/young adulthood being inactive. I'm tired of being inactive. I love feeling strong and competitive. It will become addicting but it doesn't happen right away and it doesn't happen every day. But when it doesn't you just try again tomorrow.