Mindset Tips for Getting Your Exercise on Track

My Diet Matters

The holiday season is over! While it was fun, you may not have been in the mindset for self-care. If your 2023 mindset includes moving your body more, then read on for sound mindset tips for getting your exercise habits on track. If you are physically well, but struggle to get in the exercise mood, these tips can be very helpful.

Whether you need to lose weight, tone up, reap energy benefits, or look better and younger-exercise can be your magic bullet. Although most people know the basic benefits of exercise, sometimes the impediment to starting the process is in your head. Sometimes we are tired or our head is too crowded with stress to move one foot ahead of the other. If that is the case, then you must first work on your mindset for getting your exercise on track.

5 mindset tips for getting your exercise accomplished

Although I have been providing lifestyle and diet coaching for many decades, that doesn’t mean that I love to exercise. Intellectually, I understand all the benefits of doing exercise, but I have never psychologically adored it! As a professional adult, however, I make myself exercise because it is what I have clients do. I am also well aware that exercise can be a fountain of youth and prevent disease. These two factors alone propel me to be pretty consistent with moving my body even when I have reasons not too. Here are my top 5 tips to help you:

mindset tip #1 of mindset tips for exercise

Be sure to set a goal and document it. When I struggle to get on task, I set a goal of either a certain number of miles or minutes. For instance, I frequently use a treadmill. I usually make a decision to do a certain number of miles either daily or weekly. Sometimes daily is better, sometimes weekly is better. For instance, I may commit to 12 miles of walking a week. That is 2 miles 6 days a week or 3 miles only 4 times a week. If you set your goal with some flexibility, then you are more likely to follow through.

For many decades, I maintained an office for my nutrition counseling. I had a wall calendar and for each day I followed through on my goal, I gave myself a gold star. Although it sounds silly, it was as if my clients were then monitoring me. I liked looking at the gold stars and noting my trends. The visual component was helpful to me. Although I no longer have an office, I maintain a visual reminder in my kitchen with a dry erase board on which I mark the days I followed through with exercise. Of course, keeping track on your phone works as well-but I like to have something more visual and “in my face” to prod me!

mindset tip #2

Break it up. This goes along with tip #1 in that you need to determine what can work for your circumstances. I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I have a legitimate reason for being more tired than I should be! This has interfered with my ability to want to do any exercise. However, I am back on track now that I am receiving some treatment. My current goal is to break my exercise episodes up in terms of duration. Instead of two miles at a time, I am doing 1 mile several times per day.

This is also the recommendation I would make to someone who is just starting out with exercise. By doing a shorter duration several times throughout the day, there is less fatigue and one is able to build a baseline fitness level. Your body really doesn’t care if you achieved 3 miles in one longer workout or 3 single sessions.

mindset tip #3 of mindset tips for exercise

Train for something! I have had clients throughout the years that really benefit from this mindset tip. By having something to strive for-climbing stairs for a charity or doing a 5K, it can be incentivizing. If competition is not your thing, simply start moving so you can do something fun or even keep up with the grand kids.

mindset tip #4

Make it fun. If not fun, make it less boring. Some exercise can be fun such as pickle ball, swimming, etc. But if you are like me, there needs to be a way to remove the torture while on the treadmill or elliptical. I usually have both music and the television on. For outside walking, I always have a book downloaded. Many of my clients only allow themselves certain TV shows while they are on their home exercise equipment. While I almost always walk alone, many people would make their outside walks/runs fun with company. For me, scheduling this is one more barrier, but for others it is perfect for getting moving.

Find you fun strategy and it will be much easier to follow through with your exercise. Lastly, keep in mind that some not so fun movement (like some micro workouts) also counts into your exercise equation so give yourself credit here.

mindset tip #5 of mindset tips for exercise

Monitor your progress. I am a big fan of fitness trackers. I like being able to see my steps, miles, cardiac intensity, and caloric burn. Some are better than others, so consult with an expert or do your homework. With that stated, there are other ways to monitor your progress! Ask yourself if your jeans fit better. Ask yourself if you are sleeping better or is your mood better? And, did your annual physical blood work improve? Be patient, and you will be able to see you are better off with regular body movement and exercise.

Take away on mindset tips for exercise

In order to get moving, you need to be in a frame of mind. In order to help your frame of mind, simple steps can be taken to start achieving your exercise goals. Try setting daily or weekly goals that measure your exercise in time or distance and document! Consider breaking those goals down into segments of time or miles based on your time and energy. Rinse and repeat to make your predetermined goals a reality. Consider motivating yourself with a goal such as a competition or event. Make the regular exercise events fun by using tools such as friends, music, or audio books. Be sure to somehow monitor your efforts so you can remind yourself of how well you are doing! Now get moving!

Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!


Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.