Ah, September.

I always feel like this is the second “reset, restart” month of the year (the first being January, of course). Students go back to school, camping comes to an end, sweaters get pulled out from hiding, and we often start adding structure to our schedules again. And, if you’re like most people who take the summer off from their exercise regime, this is also often a time when many start considering getting back into shape after the warm weather hiatus.

Personally, it’s been about 10 years since I’ve taken a summer off from exercise; it’s just not in my personality to allow myself to do so (which, I realize, can also be an issue in itself). But this past month, my new husband and I went on our honeymoon, and apart from a 2KM hike and a 1-hour kayaking trip, I didn’t work out. I brought my yoga mat with me – just in case – but I never unrolled it. I could tell my body wanted the break, and I wanted to focus more on sleeping in and enjoying our time together, than sweating it out in our small cabin.

After my nine days off with no routine, I woke up the following Monday morning with the intention to exercise. I dragged myself up out of bed, went into the kitchen for a glass of water, and found myself staring out the window… the last thing I wanted to do in that moment was work out.

Now, I was only off for a mere nine days! It wasn’t years, or months, or even weeks of idleness that I was battling against. Luckily, I was able to recognize my excuses for what they were and get myself back on track, but sometimes it’s not that simple. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do can be to simply start; to walk into a studio/gym/facility, to lace up your sneakers, or to press play on the DVD.

This month, I’m going to give you some tips to help you get started. It is my hope that you can enter this crisp time of the year with a renewed sense of wellness, and be able to carry it into every season so it becomes a part of your lifestyle, instead of a seasonal activity.

Regardless of whether you plan to exercise in the morning, during your lunchtime/throughout the day, right after work, or in the evening, these tips can be applied and adjusted for any time:

  • Don’t give yourself time to make excuses. Don’t press the snooze button, don’t check your emails or social media first, don’t run errands on the way, etc. Simply don’t give yourself any reason to delay exercise any longer.
  • Get your clothes ready. Lay out your workout wear the night before, have your sneakers waiting by the door for you, have a bag packed and waiting in the car, etc.
  • Stay hydrated. Have a big glass of water first thing in the morning to feel refreshed and energized after sleeping, and continue drinking lots of water throughout the day. Regardless of what time you exercise, you’ll feel hydrated if you make this a regular practice (and being hydrated helps maintain your energy levels to keep you feeling motivated!).
  • Eat something small. Have something small to eat beforehand so you have the energy to work out, especially if you haven’t eaten in a while. A banana, yogurt, whatever. That way, your stomach isn’t too full, but you have fuel to get (and keep) you going.
  • Play music. Find or make a playlist of music that you enjoy, and that energizes you throughout your work out.
  • Commit with a friend. Having an accountability partner can keep you both on track. Check in with one another throughout the day, make plans to work out together (and have a rule if one of you cancels – a money jar, extra laps the next time, or whatever – get creative!).
  • Celebrate your victories. Set milestones and celebrate each time you reach one. (If you choose to have a workout buddy, this is a fun idea to do together, too.) No matter how small the victory, it’s further than you were before, and that deserves recognition and celebration.

If you’ve been feeling unmotivated to get back into a routine, or start one altogether, I hope these tips help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever have any questions, and please feel free to share your own tips as well!