You know that you should be able to set a workout schedule and stick with it to a reasonable degree. You’re a smart person, a hard worker, and you know that this is the right thing to do. So staying motivated to exercise by yourself should be an easy task, right? Wrong. When you are only accountable to yourself, it is so much easier to decide that something else is more important–maybe the kids need you to make them dinner, or your husband or wife is after you to spend some alone time with them, or you just need to do laundry or that project at work could really use some extra time. Rarely do we take time for ourselves by actually setting aside a specific time for self-care, and that certainly includes exercising. However, when you have others that you have made an appointment with to meet at a certain time, you are adding a layer of accountability into your workout which makes it that much more likely that you’ll keep this particular “date”.
Finding Time to Get Together
Possibly the hardest thing to figure out is where you can fit in time with everyone’s busy schedules. Whether you’re looking to exercise with a bunch of busy Moms or some of the guys after work, it’s best to find a core group of individuals who can mostly agree on a day or maybe even two. Get a big enough group that it won’t be that big of a deal if someone is missing, as long as you can keep a few people in each day that you know will be there.
Find someone who is a natural cheerleader and who may have a few extra minutes each week on their hands and is willing to be the motivator for the group. They can help get everyone organized, encourage those that are on the fence about whether they can come a specific day, and generally just help keep everyone corralled. People are a lot more likely to keep coming if they just have to show up somewhere at a specific time and not have to think too much. If you ask someone different to take the lead every week, you will likely find yourself without a group pretty quickly.
Pick a Fun Activity
Whether your group loves playing basketball or softball, or even just walking, running or swimming–or a changing variety of each–find something that everyone can enjoy and be successful at. If you have a wide range of skill levels for a specific activity, maybe you can eventually break the activity down into two parts so those who want to can push themselves, and those who are not quite at that level of fitness will not feel left out. Creating a workout accountability group can be a little bit of extra work upfront, but pays off in the long run with a higher level of energy for you all, lowered stress levels and overall better quality of life since you’re taking time for yourself and to reconnect with friends and have fun during your busy week.