A quiz—are you at risk of dropping out of your new exercise program?

Every Wednesday is Tip Day (or occasionally quiz day).
This Wednesday: A quiz—are you at risk of dropping out of your new exercise program?

Exercise is a key component of happiness. If you want to boost your happiness, one of your top priorities should be adding exercise to your day. I take a yoga class twice a week and a strength-training session twice a week, and I know that my regiment contributes a lot to my happiness.

I asked my two instructors if, when a new person approached them, they could detect whether that person was likely to stick with the program or drop out.

They both agreed that there are warning signs. So take this quiz. If one of the statements below sounds like the kind of thing you’d say, beware. You may need to make a special effort to stick to a program.

Check off any statement that sounds like it could have come out of your mouth:

“This time, I’m really going to stick to it! I mean it, I’m totally, 100% committed!”

“I’m potentially thinking that maybe I might join this class.”

“Well, afternoons don’t work. And I can’t do mornings. I can come Tuesdays at noon, but not this Tuesday. Or next Tuesday…”

“I’ll squeeze it in at lunchtime. I can just run out between meetings.”

“I have to start tomorrow. No delay!”

Nevertheless, both instructors agreed, people often surprise them. They seem like they might not stick to it, but then they hang in there.

Six months is an important milestone; if you can keep up a new program for six months, it becomes part of your normal routine.

Also, you’ll probably have better luck maintaining an exercise program if you focus on the benefits you’ll get in mood, energy, and focus. If you tell yourself that you’re only exercising to lose weight, you’re more apt to drop out.

If you’ve having trouble finding a program that works for you, buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000-12,000 steps a day.

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  • Gasp! I’m totally #3.
    The hamster picture is hilarious.
    My downfall has been making very aggressive exercise plans, figuring that if I hit 75% of them I’ll still be in okay shape. But just missing any of them makes me feel guilty and plan to “go even bigger” next time, and my plans grow and grow until they’re overwhelming and unappetizing and I drop out altogether.
    I’m (only just) discovering that I’m more likely to fully execute a workout plan if it’s reasonable or even *less* than I think I “ought” to do. Because then I know that if I miss I’m really dropping the ball – and I really make them a priority. (And if I want to ramp it up gradually later, at least I’ll be in the habit of fulfilling my plans. This is my theory, anyway.)

  • No-Commitment

    I don’t think I need to take the above quiz to know if I’m at risk to drop new exercise program or not. Just give me 3 months, the longest time I can stick to an exercise program… then I’ll do a complete 180 degrees backflip, go ballistic and completely REFUSE to do any at all… It’s happened times and times again… Don’t know why… But I keep crossing my fingers…here’s to hoping.