4 Tips for Sticking to a Fitness Routine Without Support

by Carla Henderson

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It would be great to live in a world where fitness is celebrated every minute of every day. Unfortunately, many of us have friends and family who are, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about our fitness journey. Your friends bail on you when you try to plan a gym date, and your family groans and rolls their eyes every time you fill your plate with veggies and chicken. 

If you are finding that sticking to a fitness routine without support is tough work, here are a few tips to keep you working out consistently and eating healthy without relying on friends and family to cheer you on. 

Tip No. 1: Write down your goals. 

While at first glance it may seem obvious, writing down your fitness goals is a powerful way to create the internal motivation you need to withstand any kind of negativity or peer pressure coming from your inner circle. Written goals help clarify exactly what you want to accomplish every time you head to the gym or turn down appetizers and dessert. This will make sticking to a fitness routine without support much easier, and it demonstrates to others you take health seriously. 

Use the SMART acronym when writing your goals, ensuring they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. For example, instead of writing, “lose weight,” an example of a SMART goal might be: “Lose 15 pounds by exercising at the gym four times a week and not eating after 7 p.m. for the next 10 weeks.” Writing your goals in this manner is as much for you as it is for anyone else. SMART goals ensure you are unambiguous in what you want to accomplish, how you plan to get there, and how long your goal should take. This kind of written goal gives you a road map to follow as you embark on your fitness journey to help you avoid getting derailed by family and friends. Use it to plan your week and refer back to it any time you feel yourself getting pulled off track.

Tip No. 2: Get clear on why.

Why you choose to do anything can be a powerful motivator, and sometimes it can even have the power to influence and inspire others. As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why (Portfolio, 2011) , explains, there are two ways to influence human behavior: You can manipulate it, or you can inspire it. Perhaps your friends and family are less than supportive of your efforts because they don’t fully understand why you are doing it. Maybe they’ve seen you struggle with a healthy routine in the past and don’t want to see you suffer through the extra effort and sacrifice. Their lack of support could be as simple as not understanding why you want to do it in the first place. 

Take a moment and think about why you want to follow your fitness routine. Are you working out just to look better and fit into your clothes, or does it go deeper than that? Do you want to have more energy? Reduce pain? Sleep better? Feel better? Do certain diseases run in your family, such as heart disease and diabetes, which you wish to avoid by eating healthy and exercising ? Do you want to have better health and longevity to spend more quality time with your loved ones? When you get clear on your why, you not only inspire yourself but you also inspire others. 

“Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress,” Sinek says. “Working hard for something we love is called passion.” Even if your passion doesn’t end up inspiring those around you, it can keep inspiring you every day, providing more than enough motivation to help you stay on track. 

Tip No. 3: Make your choice easy.

Working out and eating healthy can be hard enough on its own, but when you don’t have help from those closest to you, it can feel downright impossible. Since you’ll be sticking to a fitness routine without support , you are in charge of making it easier for yourself. This means prepping snacks and meals ahead of time so you always have healthy options, packing a gym bag the night before so you can grab it and go, and scheduling your workouts on your calendar so you never have to cancel a lunch or move a play date. 

As the saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The trick to making your routine easy to follow is to have the healthy option available to you at all times. This is especially true when you don’t have support because you won’t be able to rely on others to help you make the right choice. 

Tip No. 4: Find your fitness tribe.

Let’s get real: Your friends and family just aren’t into fitness. And honestly, that’s OK. You don’t have to drag your friends to the gym or make your family eat healthy desserts just to keep yourself on track. There are plenty of people in the world who love working out and swapping healthy recipes

Use your fitness routine as an opportunity to meet new people and build a network of support. Start a running group, join a social media fitness challenge, or sign up for weekly recipes from your favorite health-focused website. Finding other like-minded people and resources, even just virtually, lets your friends and family off the hook and gives you the feelings of support you need to stay on track.