-knowing myself + making manageable commitments ::
---three days per week :: Though I'd like to say that I exercise every day, I know that it's better to say that I exercise three times per week than...well...less. I decided that three times per week would be floor. I'd like to make a fourth day's walk outdoors more consistent this year.
---no more than two days between workouts :: This allows for being sick + bad weather + holidays. It keeps up the momentum + muscle.
---setting reasonable expectations :: When we started I told myself that I would not berate myself for being weak or slow. I was a beginner + I would celebrate the fact that I got moving that day. I did + I do...and I'm stronger + faster than I was. If I overdid every time I went, I might resist going or hurt myself + need to recover. Consistency is the goal.
-having partners helps a lot :: Knowing that my girls are depending on me to keep my promises, provides so much motivation to get out the door. We can laugh at how tired we are together afterward + high five the fact that we did it.
-being flexible :: Yes, increasing bodily flexibility is key...stretch. But mental flexibility is also helpful. If I can't do down dogs, because of an excessively runny nose or our teacher cancels class...I don't skip...I walk, ride bikes, row, do weights, etc. instead.
-location :: I still think that walking outside is a great way to get exercise + we do that often. It's a cheap way to exercise + offers time in nature...which I think is essential. But I have to admit that a temperature controlled space is great. When our city announced that they were building a more-cost-effective, city-run fitness center within two miles of our home, I committed to joining. I heard recently that the closer one's gym is to one's home, the more likely one is to go. I know it's helpful for us.
-choosing the best time :: I like working out in the morning, so that it's not hanging over my head all day...and I can't have the excuse of being too tired by the end of the day. On the other hand, one of my girls feels she has more energy in the evenings.
-scheduling ahead :: Every time the girls' work + school schedules change, we address when we'll go to the gym. Set times that we can depend on throughout the week help us keep to our commitment. We don't have to scramble to figure it out day by day, and we keep those times clear of other commitments.
Last week, I had a terrible cold, and I knew that my girls didn't want to miss another gym day. I decided that I'd just do what I could + not feel bad about setting the level lower on the bike or just walking instead. I felt so happy afterward + realized that I don't even dislike going to the gym anymore. I mean...I actually sort of like it. :)