Many people take the opportunity to make a fresh start on goals they wish to achieve at the beginning of a new year. As noted in a previous blog post, avoid undefined resolutions (i.e. exercise more) and focus on specific goals (exercise 3 times every week).

Setting specific goals is a great start to identifying and achieving what you want in life but it will take more than planning to be successful in their execution. This year, use the power of consistency to realize your workout goals.



What is Consistency?
Consistency is the ability to do something over and over and over again like clockwork. It is regular, steady, stable, unchanging, undeviating action. When used properly, the results can be magical. Be careful you don’t confuse consistent with frequent. Consistent doesn’t mean daily but it does mean without fail.


What makes Consistency so powerful?

It shows improvement.

Taking regular action lets you know if what you are doing is working. How can you judge a new workout as a success or failure if you only do it once or twice? Give your goals a fighting chance at being effective by consistently performing actions towards your end result.

It minimizes sabotage.

When you are consistent, people know what to expect from you. If you spend every Saturday morning doing that long run, bike ride or gym workout, your friends and family will learn to respect Friday night means early to bed and stop trying to get you to do things that aren’t aligned with your goals (like going to the midnight movie opening of Star Wars dressed like Han Solo).

It invites the support of others.

Doing something on a regular basis, come hell or high water, sends a clear message: this is important to me. When others understand where your priorities lie and what you are trying to achieve, they are more likely to go the extra mile to support your efforts.

It keeps you focused.

Subscribing to consistency makes you accountable and keeps you on track. When excuses wiggle in, goals quickly become sidetracked. Having a consistent schedule or expected action keeps you working towards your goal every time.

It effects change.

You are what you do often. Stretching once a month will not improve your flexibility. Our health and wellbeing doesn’t work that way. To be successful at making real change, we need to be consistent in our actions.

How can you be more Consistent?

Start with slow and achievable.

If your ultimate goal is to exercise 3 times a week, it may be best not to start there. When establishing a new habit, consistency counts, not frequency. Let the first step be to exercise once a week. Arrange your schedule to find the one day you can commit to NO MATTER WHAT. Once you get in the habit of exercising that one day without fail, consider adding a second day – but not until you know you can do it every week. Build up a schedule you can stick with and set yourself up for success.

Never tell yourself you can’t be consistent.

You can. The key is making choices and determining your priorities. If you really want to achieve something, nothing can stop you. Acknowledge priorities are yours to make and eliminate the excuses. Yes, your day may be busy and fitting in a visit to the gym or time to get outside may be difficult but if it’s a priority, you can (and will) figure it out.

Know that consistent doesn’t mean perfect.Old sneaker

Some days, consistent is going to be running around the block and putting the sneakers back in the closet to be able to say you exercised 3 times this week. That’s okay. Being consistent is about having the choice to create an excuse or get it done (in some form) and then finding the power to make it happen.

Just keep going.

It takes time and hard work to turn a new behavior into a consistent habit – especially when we don’t feel motivated. Sometimes momentum is enough to keep us going. Newton’s law of inertia tells us the truth of this: an object in motion stays in motion. Getting started is tough, but once you get going, the ability to persist becomes easier. Today, that short run around the block may be “just getting it done” but in 3 months it may turn into a 5K race. Just keep moving.

Always have a Plan B.

Yes, life, work, family, holidays and many other things will come along and try to derail you from consistent action. Identify the common interruptions and plan in advance how to handle them. Keep exercise clothes in your car or sneakers in your work desk so if your evening blows up, you can squeeze in a quick something at lunch time and continue to make it happen.

Consistency is a powerful tool in your arsenal towards setting goals and making them happen. Use it to make this the year of achievement! Take the opportunity to incorporate regular, undeviating action into your life and watch the magic happen without fail.

105 Replies to “You Can Exercise Without Fail – Here’s How”

    1. Yes – it can be a tough slog when your friends and family are constantly (though unknowingly) sabotaging your efforts by offering up dessert when you’re trying to avoid it or insisting on happy hour when its time for a run. . .

  1. Consistency is a powerful tool. For me, the hardest things about having a regular work out regimen are starting and staying consistent. It is truly mind over matter

  2. Plan B is a must for me. Working parents often have to be flexible with plans. I am so glad it is in writing that consistent does not mean daily. : )

    1. Hi Mari,
      Yes! Thankfully, consistent can mean so many things – once a week, every other day, etc. It’s important to set yourself up for success and always be creative/adaptable in our planning since we never know what life (especially kids!) will throw at us.

  3. Yes they say doing the same thing that after 21 days it becomes habit. I have been telling myself I can do it….I can do it….Continuation is the hardest thing. I am prone to say I’ll go work out tomorrow. Start Today…DO Not put off until tomorrow!!!

    1. Over time, habits become easier to maintain than they are to establish so start small today and keep on going. Once you get in the regular habit you can increase the amount you do or if you want, add in another habit. Either way, you win!

  4. This was a very good article. Being consistent will hell you develop your routine and achieve goals that are realistic.

  5. This is so true. Once you start something that is hard, a little bit everyday, it will become a habit. I just drink black decaf coffee, no cream, no sugar. I have been drinking this for 3 years, If I add cream, my tummy hurts. Exercising is a way of life for me now and eating clean is a habit I will not change..I love the way I feel and look

  6. Dang! No matter what, huh? Geez I’m going to have to push through when I’m feeling like crap, strain a muscle or am sick as a dog…nice.

    1. Hi Nanc, I’m sorry you received the impression that consistency means do or die. That was not the intention. It’s not about being “tough enough” to push past limits when your body is telling you it needs a break. It’s about being consistent over the long run. If you have been consistent, then taking time off for illness or injury won’t stop you from reaching your goals. Life happens. If something big comes up, you reassess and come up with a new plan. It’s a mindset that will hopefully get someone off the couch on a regular basis versus being unmotivated to move day after day. Exercise is powerful stuff. We should use it to our advantage!

  7. I think that the hardest part is starting a habit then after that if you keep being consistent achieving your goals becomes easier.

    1. You’re right Cynthia, starting IS the hardest part. Objects that are not in motion stay that way until acted upon by an outside force. Once you get going though, it’s much easier to keep going.

  8. This is a good article and I love the words “being consistent”. I hope people will also see the part about starting slow. I started years ago with 5am workouts 2x week so I could also sleep, then 3x week and now I love my early morning workouts……that is ME time.

  9. I love this. I have become dedicated to exercise and trying to make sure I take care of myself. I am on a 100 day challenge to work out every day for 100 days. This is day 6. I do zumba three to four times a week and other exercises on other days. I try to stay consistent so it becomes a lifestyle for me.

    1. Nice Erin! 100 days in a row? Awesome! I have a similar N0 Days 0ff challenge and it is in the early stages. I have to say it has kept me consistent since I don’t want to have a day on that calendar that doesn’t have an “X” on it. I feel like I am definitely getting more consistent in my efforts. I hope you are too. Keep it up!

  10. You know it has become a habit when you aren’t able to stay on the same schedule and you miss it. Be flexible so you don’t beat yourself up about extenuating circumstances, which may keep you from meeting your goals.

    1. Elizabeth, I know what you mean. When something is so routine, it feels weird when life makes the routine fall away for a bit. But you are right – you have to keep in mind that sometimes you will be thrown a curve ball and that’s okay. Take a deep breath, deal with the present and get back on track when you are able. No harm, no foul – goals may need to be modified but can always be met. 🙂

  11. I agree if you can stay consistent with your daily exercising routine and you are reaching your goal, don’t be upset when you have to miss out one day because of unexpected things that may interfere.

    1. That’s right Michele – if you have been consistent up to the point where you are sidelined, then missing a day is not going to impact you trying to reach your goal. You will have “credit” built up in the bank of exercise. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  12. What is Consistency?
    Consistency is the ability to do something over and over and over again like clockwork. It is constant, regular, uniform, steady, stable, even, unchanging, undeviating action. When used properly, the results can be magical. Be careful you don’t confuse consistent with frequent. Consistent doesn’t mean daily but it does mean without fail.

    These are the most powerful words of this blog…Just like getting up and coming to work. It is consistent. We do it at least 5 days straight on a regular, constant and steady. Exercise can be the same if you want to make that change. Make it constant. Make it steady. Make it on a regular. I’m going on vacation and still will be exercising. I even exercised during the Super Bowl. I wanted to be constant, consistent and steady. It brought about a change to me and those around me wanted to join in…just not that day. But it at least got them thinking about making that change to being consistent.

    1. Hi ThiqueNezz, You’re awesome! It’s amazing how deeply our thoughts and actions can impact those around us. Your desire to be consistent and your willingness to show it (by moving during the Super Bowl!) give those around you permission (and inspiration!) to do the same. Maybe not today but in the future. Be the change you want to see and it will happen. Have fun on your vacation – you’re going to feel great. Simply amazing. LOVE it!

  13. Great information. The goal is having a plan and sticking to it. sometimes we even surprise ourselves at what we can accomplished when we continue to drive forward.

  14. I like the consistency article, so true, we get up and come to work, we can get up and do something healthy for ourselves also. Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna! You’re welcome – and thank you for the great thought. It is automatic to get up and go to work. We do that easily without fail (unless we are sick or injured). Why not give healthy habits the same approach? Love it.

  15. This is so true so many thins in this article applies to me but I need to work on this one I have to find a balance-Yes, life, work, family, holidays and many other things will come along and try to derail you from consistent action. Identify the common interruption that will crop up and plan in advance how to handle them

    1. Hi Joyce! Balance is a good thing to have – but can be hard to find (and maintain!) It is always good to have a Plan B to prevent any one thing in your life from taking over all the others. Plus when exercise is a priority and you feel good both physically and mentally, everything else seems to fall in place. 🙂

    1. Jolynn, that’s great. Sometimes you have to create a little space for yourself and protect it. Life is so much nicer when friends and family understand this and support you. Keep it up!

  16. Why have I never thought of having a plan “B”? That is such a simple but impactful idea. I will be working on my plan “B” today. Thank you for this inspiring article.

    1. You’re funny Michelle! Yes, “plan B” is helpful if you are serious about being consistent. You never know what or when even the best intentions will get de-railed so it’s good to be prepared. Good luck and thank you for the kind comment!

  17. I have been working on consistency. Yet I am aware of getting into a rut. If I go to work every day, it starts getting a little monotonous. Exercise helps break up the pattern, but then, I find doing exercise gets a little monotonous. Oh well, boring is as boring does.

    1. Agreed Kurt – winter is tough. It’s so hard to get out the door when its cold and there is no sunshine. On the bright side, if you dress properly, it’s less likely you’ll overheat as you exercise. 🙂

  18. Always good to see in writing what you may be doing wrong. I need to be consistent in order to make healthy habits to better my life, routine and health. Great article.

    1. Thanks for reading Katina! It’s not always about right or wrong but more about priorities. When better health is a priority, you can and will make it happen. The mind is a very powerful force – when you set it to do something, you cannot be stopped!

  19. I am trying to do one thing at a time when it comes to consistently. I have been working on portion control for about a month and now I am slowly introducing exercise back into the routine

    1. That is a great approach Anitra! Research (and let’s be honest, common sense) shows we are less likely to stick to healthy habits when we try to change too many things at once. Slow and steady really does win the race in the quest for consistency. Everything doesn’t have to happen overnight. It’s just like walking and breathing – one step and one breath at a time.

    1. Yes, Sheila! As humans we are genetically coded to move often. It’s good for both our bodies and our brains. It keeps disease away and slows down the aging process. There are so many benefits to moving! It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, it just has to happen. Keep at it!

  20. This was a great article. I struggle with consistency. Sometimes just out of boredom with the same old thing, and other times, just not in the mood. I try to focus on doing something different each week or so, and find that I’m much more likely to follow thru.

  21. Just this week I packed a small gym bag in my car with clothes, shoes/socks, small washcloth/hand towel/soap, and deodorant in case it is raining on my way home and I need to stop by the mall or church to do my walking. 4 weeks ago I started on a diet/exercise regiment and have lost 12 pounds so far. My routine involves daily light weights and walking. I feel so much better! The afternoon spring rains have interfered with my walking at times and I wish I’d thought of the “keep workout clothes in the car” idea before this week… GREAT TIP!

    1. 12 pounds? Sylvia that is AMAZING! It’s so great to hear you are making progress and continuing to move. I’m glad the tip was useful and that you are making it happen for yourself. You should be very proud. Thank you for reading and most importantly, sharing!

  22. It is so helpful to plan out the week as to what and where I have time to exercise – and having someone to be accountable to – besides yourself is also a big help. That is why I joined in to a work wellness “couch to 5k” – it helps me to establish some goals and consistency, which I can carry on beyond the program.

    1. Hi Pamela! That’s great! Did you run the 5K yet? We would love to know how it goes/went.

      I had a race this spring (May). It was a great goal because it got me out the door through the winter and cooler spring months. Now that the race is over I feel a little lost – I need to line up another goal. For me, it’s easier to be consistent when I have something to work towards – even if it’s just shaving seconds off my finish time.

  23. Great read! I always try to push myself to exercise, but it makes sense that consistency is key and it is better to stick with a schedule then to try and overload myself with a workout that exhausts me every single day.

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