Focus on Fun

Choosing physical activity you like to do—whether it's gardening, flying a kite, or hiking a mountain—can be the best way to ensure you'll stick with it.
Published July 21, 2017

What moves you to, well, move? Do you like to swing dance? Play hide-and-seek with your kids? Go fly-fishing? Think of activities you enjoy and that enhance your life—those can be the foundation of a lifetime of fitness. When you shift from thinking about fitness as something that's "good for me" to something that "feels good to me"—in other words, when you make pleasure the goal of physical activity rather than some vague or distant weight- or appearance-related goal—you're more likely to stick with it over the long term.

Michelle Segar, Ph.D., who's researched exercise motivation, suggests that most of us have the wrong why when it comes to fitness. It might seem counterintuitive, but if we're moving to fit into those jeans, or to lower our blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or because we should—we're almost guaranteed to trail off and stop exercising. That's because those reasons dump exercise in the already-busting-at-the-seams category of Chores We Have to Do—how appealing can that be? Segar suggests we shift our focus to think of moving more as a gift we can give ourselves. When we free our minds to choose only what we really want to do, it becomes fun, something to look forward to, and a reward in itself! The worksheet in your Weekly can help you "find your feel-good moves."

And these ideas can help you make moving a lifelong, pleasurable habit:

Draw up a weekly timetable—nothing fancy, just a plan for when, how long, where, and even with whom you will do the activity.

Wear an activity monitor, like WW's Fit Pedometer or a Fitbit. Seeing how many steps you've taken, how far you've gone, or how many calories you've burned can motivate you to keep going.

Get your crew on board. Having an activity buddy can help you stay on track. It can also help to invite your family and friends to join you.

Anticipate dips. Everyone struggles with motivation from time to time, even when you enjoy what you're doing. Anticipating such feelings can help you quickly bounce back from them. For example, if you sometimes struggle to get in that morning walk, ask a friend to call you to make sure you're not still sitting on the sofa.

Buy activewear that makes you feel good. Shop for well-designed, flattering, and supportive workout clothes; you'll be more motivated to work out.


Just Peachy

Eating a ripe peach is like immersing yourself in the perfect summer day: fragrant, warm, and delicious.