Want to start working out again? Follow these 5 steps

Okay, you used to be good about going to the gym on the reg. But things changed and you got busy. Now you’re ready to get back into it, and the way get there is to take it one step at a time.

How’s the “New Year, New You” coming along? If the answer is “meh” or worse, you’re not alone. When it comes to returning to the gym, everyone struggles at some point: you get tired, you get busy, or frankly, you stop giving a shit. But there’s still a part of you who wants to improve your fitness and we’re here to help you get back on track.

1. Start with “quick wins”
What’s the easiest thing you can do today to improve your health and fitness? Do that first. If you’ve struggled to get started with your fitness journey, start (very) small. Simple “wins” include drinking more water, drinking one fewer soda or beer each week, and trying to get an extra twenty minutes of sleep per night. They seem easy, but that’s the point—you build momentum, which will quickly translate into bigger wins and more results.


2. Avoid doing too much, too soon
Some guys have the opposite problem: They try to do a million things at once—juice cleanses, two-a-days, bootcamps, Paleo—and fail miserably. If you set huge goals only to blow a 3-1 series lead, swallow your pride and aim to do things you know you can do. It’s better to succeed at 100% of your fitness goals than succeed only 20% and feel frustrated.


3. Focus on habits, not results
Here’s a decent goal: “I want to lose 10 lbs.” Here’s a great goal: Focus on the habits that will produce results. Go to the gym 3x/week for 45 minutes. Sleep 8 hours each night. Eat two servings of veggies with every meal. Only eat carbs on workout days. Etc. “Losing 10 lbs” has too many factors outside of your control. Your habits, however, are within your domain. Once you transform your habits, trust the process and feel confident you’re making progress toward your long-term goals.


4. Birds of a feather flock together
If you spend too much time with unhealthy people who eat shitty foods, think shitty thoughts, and haven’t seen the inside of a gym since high school, your fitness is going to suffer. You’ll struggle to see yourself in a new way while your friends might view the “new you” as a backhanded criticism of their laziness. (Enjoy being called a “health freak.”). Instead, surround yourself with happy, healthy, and fit people. They might not know all the answers, but they’ll know firsthand the effort, sacrifices, and encouragement it takes to live a fit life.


5. Simple work-outs
When I worked at a commercial gym, someone once told me the workouts I taught weren’t “sexy enough.” This isn’t PornHub; this is a fucking workout. Sure, it’s nice to do cool workout at the gym—juggle dumbbells, box jump 42”, and do handstand pushups—but if you want to survive the gym for more than a month, focus on the essential exercises that build real muscle and lay the foundation for an awesome future.