One out of every two new exercisers quits within a year. To avoid becoming an exercise dropout, you need to make motivation a top priority. Keep reminding yourself that regular exercise is important to your good health and general well-being. You may even want to keep notes around your house that reinforce such messages as "You're doing a great job" or "Keep up the good work."
Selecting exercise that you find pleasant, convenient and affordable is another important factor in successfully sticking with an exercise program. There are several other techniques that can be very effective at helping you stay on track.
Enlist the support of your spouse or significant other. When a new exerciser doesn't have support, the chances of dropping out go up sharply. Discuss with your family the importance of your new program to your health and well-being and that it may require some juggling of schedules.
Tell your friends about your plans and encourage them to ask about your progress. Draw up a contract on paper that specifically outlines your exercise goals -- for example, working out four to five days a week for 60 minutes at a time. Sign this contract with family or friends as witnesses and include weekly penalties for missing days (such as a contribution to your favorite charity or an unpleasant chore) and rewards for staying on schedule (such as a relaxing soak in the tub or dinner at a favorite restaurant). Then check in weekly with your witnesses to report on how you did.
Find a workout partner and exercise together one or more times a week at a prearranged time. Or join an aerobics group that meets regularly.