Exercise adherence

On track blog


Sticking with Exercise All Year Long

The year 2016 has arrived, the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over and most people have grabbed hold of a New Year resolution. We’ve all been there: inspired for the New Year, motivated to change for the better and to shape a ‘new you’ that can face anything the year brings. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute staying fit and healthy and losing weight falls in the top ten list of New Year resolutions1. However it’s no secret that many people (even up to 80%2) struggle to adhere to exercise long term.

So what does it take to stay motivated all year long? How can you stick to a program when you’re struggling for time? Fortunately there are certain factors that can be addressed to help increase your chance of cementing exercise into your lifestyle.


Mixing up your exercise routine is a great way to prevent boredom and is important for bone and muscle adaptations3. This could be a small and simple change such as combining family time with exercise such as hikes, bike rides or going for a swim. Discuss with your trainer exercises you enjoy and don’t enjoy. Remember to start easy and slowly increase your efforts or intensity to prevent injury.

Goal Setting

Figure out what it is that you’d like to achieve, from losing 10kg to be able to easily run around the playground with your child and make sure you are specific. This will easily allow you to see change and will give you a sense of accomplishment when the goal is achieved. Remember to also be realistic. This will improve your chances of success4 as unrealistic goals will lead to disappointment and frustration.

Make a Commitment

Make exercise a priority. Personal Training sessions are a great way to prioritise and stick with exercising regularly. Once you’ve established a day and time that suits, keep doing it. Continually rescheduling and cancelling session may hinder you from establishing a routine. Set out and write a contract with yourself to achieve your goals. Although the idea may seem a little silly, but it’s a great way to promise yourself to perform the necessary tasks to achieve your goals. And holds you accountable! Plus, you can give yourself a specific reward when the goals reached!

Monitor Your Progress

Ideas such as keeping an exercise journal, a food diary and tracking how much weight you’ve lost is a great way to see improvements which will motivate you to set and achieve new exercise and health goals.


One of the most important factors in exercise adherence is self-efficacy5. Self-efficacy refers to the belief and confidence of one’s own ability to complete the necessary tasks in order to be successful in various endeavours6. It has been positively correlated with increased exercise success whereby there’s an increase in exercise adherence, fitness level and increased sense of achievement7. Someone with high self-efficacy in relation to exercise is least likely to quit when compared to someone of low self-efficacy. Strategies to increase self-efficacy can include remembering previous successes, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, monitor your own behaviour, goal setting and enlisting support such as friends, family or a Personal Trainer.


Joanne Hausler




  1. Statistic Brain Research Institute. (2015). New Years Resolutions Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  2. Association for Applied Sport Psychology. (2016). Exercise Adherence Tips. Retrieved from http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resource-center/health-fitness-resources/exercise-adherence-tips/
  3. Martin, J, E., Dubbert, P, M., (1985). Adherence to Exercise. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, 13(1). 137-168. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-essr/Citation/1985/00130/Adherence_to_Exercise_.7.aspx
  4. Dishman, R. K., (1982). Compliance/adherence in health-related exercise. Health Psychology, 1(3), 237-267. doi: 1037/0278-6133.1.3.237
  5. Mcauley, E., Courneva, K., Rudolph, D., (1994). Enhancing Exercise Adherence in Middle-Aged Males and Females. Preventive Medicine, 23(4), 498-506. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743584710681
  6. Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37(2), 122-147. doi: 1037/0003-066X.37.2.122
  7. Jackson, D. (2010). How Personal Trainers can use self-efficacy theory to enhance exercise behaviour in beginning exerciers. Strength and Conditioning Journal 32(3), 67-71. Retrieved from https://www.nsca.com/Education/Articles/How-Personal-Trainers-Can-Use-Self-Efficacy-Theory-to-Enhance-Exercise-Behavior-in-Beginning-Exercisers/