Five Workout Motivational Tips

Learn to motivate yourself to get the exercise you need.

OK, you admit your exercise record has been spotty. Maybe you started the new year with a bang, but now you're falling back into old habits, using the same old excuses. It just proves change doesn't come easy.

Exercise may become more of a habit if you follow the advice of the folks at the Society for Public Health Education in Washington, D.C.

1. Make a plan. Wanna-bes stay wanna-bes without a written plan that's simple and realistic. Going public also may help.

2. Start with small changes. If you've been inactive, find simple ways to get moving. Always take the stairs. Instead of a coffee break, take a short walk. Gradually increase your activity until you can exercise for 30 minutes a day.

3. Learn to love change. Exercise -- like life -- can get boring if there's no variety. Mix up your routine.

4. Pick a partner. This lets you share the joy of accomplishing goals, plus you can pick each other up when one of you starts dragging.

5. Reward your achievements -- but don't wait until you win a marathon. Select a meaningful way to celebrate the big and small accomplishments, especially as you first begin exercising.