For this reason, many New Year’s resolutions fail before the end of January. When something feels like a punishment, obligation, or chore, we find reasons to avoid it.
Avoidance ultimately feels bad and creates guilt and shame, which then leads to more avoidance and negative feelings about the activity.
Instead of merging exercise with weight-loss goals, let exercise be its own goal. Exercise can be fun, immediately rewarding, and something you will want to do again soon.
There are many different activities that can be considered exercise. Walking in the park, mall walking, tennis, swimming, bicycling, and even ping pong are ways to move your body and derive mental health benefits.
To increase enjoyment and the likelihood of sticking to your exercise resolution:
1. Find activities you enjoy. Rather than committing to activities that provide the quickest physical results, get creative as you consider what you like.
2. Go with a friend. Social support increases accountability and makes the activity more fun. Socializing also has positive mental health benefits, so you would be getting twice the payoff for your efforts.
3. Listen to music. Music can energize, boost mood, and make any activity more fun.