An action plan can help you take steps to get you moving or, if you're already active, raise your fitness level.
Start by thinking about how physically active you are now and what you want to do. Then decide how often you will get exercise, when you can do it, and where. It's important to have goals that are realistic for your fitness level now and to start activity routines that you can stick to.
Set an Exercise Goal
Here are some examples of specific goals:
I will walk for 30 minutes 2 times next week.
I will work out at a gym 3 times next week.
I will increase my daily activity as part of my usual work and home routine on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week.
Steps Toward Your Goal
Now think of how you can reach the goal. Use simple, doable ideas as the steps to your goal.
Here are examples of first steps:
I'll set my alarm 30 minutes earlier on Wednesday and Friday this week so I have time for a walk.
On Monday, I'll get information about gyms near my home or office.
On Tuesday and Thursday, I'll park further away from work and stores so I'll walk more.
I'll get a pedometer and write down how many steps I take this week. Next week I'll increase it by 10 percent.
Use an action plan work sheet for a single, specific goal.
When you reach your first goal, celebrate your success, then create an action plan for your next goal.
Make your goal as specific as possible so you'll know exactly what you're going to do.
Learning and adapting your plan:
After the first week or so, ask yourself how you're doing and if you feel your plan is easy to stick to.
Think about what's working and what gets in your way, and add that to the weekly chart.
If you find that something you didn't plan for is creating a barrier, modify your plan so it works for you.
Note: Keep your goals realistic. Start by taking small steps toward your goal. If you feel stuck or are having a hard time, ask a friend, family member, or your doctor for help.
Clinical review by Travis Abbott, MD
Local Walking Maps
To stick with an exercise plan, vary your routine and make it interesting. For example, check out walking routes in your area. Search online or contact your parks department or city and county. Here are some examples.