How to Get Back into a Health and Fitness Routine

It happened again. Your perfect routine was disrupted, leaving you off track and feeling out of steam. You aren’t alone.

Whether you enjoyed a recent vacation, are recovering from an illness, or got swept up in holiday festivities, setbacks happen. It’s how you address them that makes or breaks your health goals.

Don’t guilt yourself into diving headfirst into a rigid routine to make up for lost time, instead, slowly build back your momentum. This can allow you to better sustain your healthy habits and see results. 

Not sure how to do this? Read on for tips and tricks for getting back into a fitness routine you can stick with.

Why People Fail to Rebuild Momentum

When you have goals you want to reach, either big or small, it can be tough to wait to see progress. You may have a deadline in your head, a big event, or a change of season. While it would be wonderful to lose 50 pounds before your cousin’s wedding next month, that’s probably not a very reasonable goal.

Before creating a routine, consider what your goals are and make sure you are being realistic. You don’t just want to lose 50 pounds for your cousin’s wedding, you probably would like to keep it off for good, right? 

Slow and steady will always win the race so take your time. If your goal is weight loss, recognize that losing one to two pounds a week is considered healthy and sustainable. 

If your goal is to run a marathon, don’t dive into running 5 miles a day to build up faster or you’ll likely receive an injury. 

Start where you are at, even if that’s a quarter of a mile a day and slowly build from there. It may be tough to be patient, especially if you were doing far more than this before your setback but remember, all good things come to those who wait.

The Problem With Trying to Do Too Much Too Soon

While it can be tempting to feel the need to detox yourself after a setback by jumping into a week's worth of chicken breast and broccoli coupled with a rigid 6-day-a-week workout routine, this is likely what’s causing your setbacks to begin with.

Many fall into the all-or-nothing trap when it comes to health and fitness goals. Whether you go off track for the weekend or take a 6-month long sabbatical from your exercise routine, you don’t have to start back up again by changing your entire routine to favor your health goals. This can leave you burnt out and frustrated before you even start seeing results.

Building momentum in your routine allows for long-lasting habits that lead to sustainable results. You don’t want to do all this work for nothing, right?

What if you could still enjoy your normal life while also prioritizing your health and fitness goals? Turns out, you don’t have to choose one or the other.

How to Rebuild Healthy Habits

Building healthy habits is the cornerstone for success in your wellness journey. But this is not always an easy feat. Below are some easy ways to start building health habits that complement your goals but still feel realistic and achievable. 

Start Small

When incorporating a new habit into your routine, make it small and easy. The goal is to make it so that you’ll have difficulty not doing it. 

Your lack of motivation to go for a jog in the morning is probably not related to your motivation at all. You just need to create an easier habit and work yourself up.

For example, instead of going out first thing in the morning and running three miles, start with a quarter of a mile and build from there. If you want to dedicate 30 minutes in the morning to doing yoga, start with 10 minutes first.

Couple with Another Habit

If you’re looking to build a new habit and have been struggling to stick with it, despite it being easy, consider habit coupling. Choose a habit you have instilled and add a new one. This can make it easier to remember.

For example, if you want to start doing more pushups in the morning, start adding them in before you hop in the shower.

Slowly Build

Once you’ve built a routine with a small habit, start slowly increasing. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Instead, increase in increments. 

For example, add 5 more push-ups in the morning every 2 weeks or increase your jog by a quarter of a mile every week. This helps you to avoid setbacks from injury, overtraining, and burnout.

Don’t Sweat a Setback

Missing a workout day or over-indulging isn’t the end of the world. It won’t make or break your progress unless you let it. If you have a setback, get back on track the next day and avoid guilting yourself. You are human and no one is perfect.

What Will You Do This Week?

Take some time to consider what healthy habits you want to commit to today. Be sure to stay authentic to yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, what feels reasonable to you?

Whatever habits you wish to commit to, big or small, must be sustainable. The key to choosing these habits is being able to comfortably stick to them with the main objective being to build on them each week. 

Take some time to write your habits and goals down so you have a physical representation of your commitment. Use this to remind you and motivate you when you need it.

How to Deal With Setbacks

Setbacks are a part of everyone's health journey. They happen, they will always happen. It’s about how you deal with them that makes or breaks your progress. 

When re-building momentum after a setback, you can either fall back into your routine or fall short. Actively giving up and choosing to eat whatever you want or forget your gym membership won’t get you anywhere but frustrated. Take it day by day and move forward in any way that you can.

If a setback happens, don’t give up on everything. Even if you aren’t able to get back into a habit you’ve created right now, it doesn’t mean all of your goals are a wash. Stick with what you can or add in a new habit that feels more reasonable to you. Things change and we must be able to change as well.

Lastly, Acknowledge the setback and move on. It is what it is and it’s perfectly normal. While frustrating, these are important moments to practice resilience. The more we practice pushing past these setbacks the easier they are to deal with.

Set a Target Date

Setting a timeline, or a target date, can help keep your eye on the prize. When creating a health and fitness routine that works, your goal is to push yourself slowly back into your peak for your goals. 

A target day to get back into this full routine can help you practice doing things gradually but intentionally. Just be sure you are being realistic. 

Everyone has goals to reach and it’s normal to have setbacks or periods of frustration. But don’t let that get in the way of meeting your goals. Get back on the horse, start slow, and build up.