How to Start Your Own Exercise Plan

Before you can begin your journey towards getting healthy, you first need a plan.


By Jannette Vicente Ball


The only way that you’ll stick to a fitness plan is to make it your own! Take a look at the following steps to get started:

  • Define your goals
  • Create a plan
  • Find your passion; dedicate time
  • Research and ask for help
  • Make peace with lapses

Why do you want to get fit?

While it is good to see how others stay in proper physical fitness, when we actually try to copy their routines, we often find that it does not work. That’s because we either lose interest in the activity or the activity does not do for us what it does for others. Your fitness plan needs to be customized to fit your needs and to meet your personal goals. You also need to consider your level of endurance at the start and find activities that you will be able to do easily in the beginning and then intensify as needed.

Why do you want to get fit? Is it for weight loss? If so how much weight do you want to lose overall and how much do you want to lose weekly? Is there a medical reason for getting into a routine of activity? Do you want to find a way to relieve stress?

Knowing the answers to these questions will keep you in the game and assist you in deciding which activity will be best suited to your needs. For me, a health issue was what got me into the world of physical fitness. But over the years, there have been added benefits to maintaining an active lifestyle. My time outdoors serves as a stress releaser, as a time of solitary contemplation, and a time to compete with others as I have run a variety of races over the last 5 years.

What do I like?

Next, find an activity that you like to do. If you played a sport while you were in school, look to your local recreation department to see if they have an adult league in your area that you can join. Soccer, basketball, softball, and volleyball are popular recreational activities and many towns in the U.S. have adult leagues that you can join. This type of group activity will also serve as a great way for you to meet like-minded people and give you the same benefit of team play that you enjoyed when you played in school.

For those that have not really been part of organized group play, there are lots of physical activities that you can do to get in shape. If you’re like me, you can take to the outdoors and walk, run, bike, or hike to get yourself on track for better healthy living.

What’s realistic?

Once you have determined why you want to exercise and what you want to do about it, the next step is to create a schedule for yourself. Ideally, you want to be active every day in a sustained activity for at least thirty minutes. But, if this is not realistic for you at the start, that’s okay. The key is starting up. If you are like me, start off slowly. Make your goal realistic for you to achieve. I started by walking for 20 minutes, 3 times per week. I stayed the course because I looked into tracking my exercise using an app on my phone and I programmed it to remind me to lace up and go.

The other reason why, after 5 years, I am still going strong is because I found an activity that was ideally suited to me. Before I took to the outdoors, I had a gym membership that I used on a very irregular basis. I found working out at the gym tedious and monotonous. It was another obligation on a long list of daily duties for me to accomplish and I received no joy from doing it.

But those days of walking along the Jersey shoreline in my neighborhood that fall of 2010 catapulted me into finding my passion in running. And once I started running, I started to really educate myself on the sport.

Finding out as much as possible about your exercise activity will keep you doing it. Look for blogs that talk about your activity. Observe how others get it done and find out what keeps them motivated to stay the course. Doing this will help you learn how to do it better and you will incorporate tips from others into your own routine. You will know what the best equipment/gear is for your activity and you will open up a new world of socialization for yourself as you start to share with others about what you do to stay physically fit.

What about setbacks?

Another important part of your fitness plan is to get back to it after you have missed one or two sessions. So many times, skipping a week or two puts us on the quitting side because we think that we have done irreparable damage by skipping out on the workout. But this is not true.

The first order of business is to forgive yourself for your lapse and look at your past accomplishments. That’s why keeping track of your workouts is important. Get back to your routine and take it down a notch. It’s okay to have a bad workout.

Lastly, if you find that you are not maintaining any consistency in your activity, try looking for someone else that will keep you accountable. This could be a physical trainer at your place of exercise. Or, as in my case, a person who you have observed, that is committed to the same activity you do. As difficult as this may be, try to establish a partnership with this person to assist with keeping you on track with your fitness objectives.

Jannette is an administrator for the Edison Township Board of Education. After undergoing surgery, Jannette suffered from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Doctors prescribed medication but Jannette did not want to become dependent on such. She decided to start eating foods to assist in healing. Through this process, she discovered running, biking, eating right, and the use of natural products to assist in aging gracefully. Now, she runs, bikes, and swims with her 15 year old daughter and manages to outlast her on occasion. She is passionate about helping others do the same.

Main Photo Credit: Umpaporn/; Second Photo Credit: Kitch Bain/; Third Photo Credit: Rocksweeper/; Fourth Photo Credit: Daxiao Productions/; Fifth Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/

Mon Feb 15 18:20:38 UTC 2016

Exactly 👌🏻