Goal No. 2: Plan Your Exercise continued...
Analyze your morning schedule. "You'll find there's a lot of free time there," says Gerald Endress, ACSM, fitness director at Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical Center. "People tell me it takes them two hours to get ready for work. It's not that they're prettying themselves up - they're basically just wasting time. But when they start exercising in the morning, they find they use their time better. One guy told me he got to work 20 minutes earlier on days he exercised. If you've got a structured period of activity, you know to keep things moving."
Set your program. Decide what works best for you, such as 8 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. "You don't let anything interfere with that," advises Thompson. "That's not to say once a month something comes up you can't exercise. That's OK. It's when you're making excuses three, four, five days in a row -- that's a problem. It's got to be the highest priority because it's your health."
Know your options. What kind of exercise - or physical activity - will get you out of bed in the morning? A yoga video, walking, a workout session at the YMCA? Figure out what will motivate you.
Tackle roadblocks. Is inertia a problem for you in the morning? "When the alarm clock sounds, it's easy to hit the snooze button," says Bryant. A workout buddy can provide motivation. "If you know someone is waiting for you, counting on you, you'll go. Once you go, you're happy you went. Once you get past that inertia, you're glad you did the workout."
Don't think of it as "early". It's a mindset issue, says Foster. Setting the alarm 30 minutes early should not be a negative in your day. Give it a positive spin. "Quit thinking of it as getting up early. Your day starts when the alarm goes off. That's how you should think of it."
Remind yourself. Put yellow sticky notes on the fridge or the computer - like "get off the bus four stops early - Mon., Wed., Fri."