What is your main tip to help people stick with an exercise program and not quit?
Set goals. I cannot emphasize enough how important goal setting is when it comes to exercise (and pretty much all aspects of life). Take some quality time to come up with a few specific goals that YOU want to achieve. I capitalize “YOU” because these goals are goals that you have to be passionate about and not just what someone else wants you to achieve.
These goals should follow the S.M.A.R.T. guidelines. This means that they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Moreover, the goals need to be specific rather than general. For example, figure out how much body fat/weight you want to lose or how much strength you want to gain instead of setting the broad goal of wanting “to get in shape.” I see it all the time. The people who set general goals fall off the wagon, because they burn themselves out by having no end in sight. On the flip side, however, those people who choose specific goals that are tailored to their own wants and needs are much more likely to stick with it to the end.
Your goals also have to be measurable. Would you run a race without a finish line? At any time a long the way, you need to be able to take a step back and analyze your progress to see where you currently stand. There is a good chance that you might have to alter your goals a bit in order to stay in line. It is also wise to set some mini (short-term) goals along the way to reaching your main (long-term) goal(s). By doing this, you will be able to reward yourself after your each milestone achieved. This helps by keeping motivation levels high.
The goals you set for yourself should be challenging but attainable and realistic to achieve. You want to choose goals that will really push you, but you have to be realistic at the same time. You do not want to choose goals that are impossible to achieve, because then you are only setting yourself up for failure. The whole point of goal setting should be to set yourself up for success.
Lastly, the goals you set for yourself should be able to be achieved in a timely manner. As mentioned earlier, I highly recommend choosing short-term and long-term goals for yourself, so that you can feel good about your progress along the way. If you set a goal that is a year or two off without rewarding yourself along the way, it will be difficult to stay true to your goals because motivation will begin to lag.
I am confident that if you follow these S.M.A.R.T guidelines, you will be successful by achieving your goals.