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How to Stay on Track

When we are trying new things- a sport, diet, hobby, fitness challenge, lifestyle- it’s hard to first get into the groove of something unfamiliar. This uncertainty can cause us to want to quit whatever it is we are trying to accomplish, thus shattering any fitness or health goals we had set for ourselves.  I understand that trying something new is intimidating, and it’s easy to go back into old (an often unhealthy) habits because they’re familiar but remember- you are doing things for your health, and because you want to be better than you were yesterday.  So, here are some tips that I use to stay on track and help me reach my goals.


1. Keep a Planner

Yes, it’s basic, and yes, I know you thought you were done keeping a planner after high school, but TRUST ME, this will help you.  Write down everything that you did each day to help you in your journey, and everything that hindered it.  This way, you’ll have a record of all your accomplishments and shortcomings, so that you can stay inspired and avoid the bad stuff. Planners also help keep you organized, so you’ll never again find yourself sitting in class saying, “what test?”


2. Make Rules

I know this may seem juvenile but keeping a list of do’s and don’ts is a good way to stay on track and help you categorize your priorities.  I keep my rules on post-it notes around my bedroom, which help me to enforce my rules so that I follow them, such as going to bed at eleven, doing my homework before going out, and staying away from white sugar. We all have a sense of pride, and if we write our own rules, then we feel compelled to follow them, guided by nothing but our sense of shame and longing to improve.

3. Get Friends Involved

Everything is easier with company!  If you are anxious about trying something new, bring a friend with you- the moral support and guidance of another mind will do you well in your journey. Other perspectives are good for you; you might discover that your friend might actually know something about what it is you’re trying to do and help you.  You can even try to make new friends who have similar goals.  Just make sure that they have the same drive and dedication as you do, or they may throw you off your journey.


4. Positive Reinforcement

Attitude is EVERYTHING.  If you are constantly putting yourself down, how are you supposed to bring yourself up?  Instead of punishing yourself for skipping leg day or for eating that bag of chips instead of that apple, tell yourself that you are HUMAN, and you make mistakes. Then, start over with a can-do attitude.  It’s never too late to begin again, and you don’t have to wait until Monday to get back on track- do it now!  Tell yourself that you are awesome, and you can do anything you put your mind to!


5. Reward Yourself

Yas queen, treat yo-self.  Whether it’s a cheat day every week and a half, a break from your nightly fitness class or whatever, make sure that you are giving yourself the recognition you deserve.  After all, you deserve it for working so hard to get where you are!  No one else is putting in the work you are in order to accomplish your goal, so only you can reward yourself for everything you’re doing. Just make sure not to go overboard; rewards are great because you don’t get them all the time.  If you reward yourself with a candy bar for every cigarette you choose not to smoke, it creates a whole different problem.


Hi! My name is Laura, and I am a junior at the U of Scranton. I am a broadcasting major with a philosophy and criminal justice minor, and I enjoy knitting, archery and exercising for some reason.
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