We’ve all done the yo-yo routine before. You get yourself to go to the gym a handful of times and you feel really good about yourself, and then you get caught up in other priorities and the next thing you know, you haven’t seen the gym in a few months. It can be easy to neglect working out when you’re in college because your physical fitness is the one thing you’re not getting a grade on. However, another way to look at it is that your physical fitness is the only subject you get to grade yourself on. Indeed, staying active requires a strong sense of independent motivation. If you’re not quite sure how to instill that kind of motivation, here is how to stick with a fitness plan in college.

Make a plan that is realistic.

Before you start telling yourself that you plan to run 10 miles on the treadmill and do 20 pull ups each time you go to the gym, you want to take a step back and make sure that you’re not getting ahead of yourself. If you haven’t been to the gym in a while, choose a few machines and just assess your limits. From there you can make a plan that pushes you just a little bit harder than you pushed yourself the first time. Make sure you write this plan down, because if it isn’t written, it won’t feel as important and you’re likely to forget it.

Set Goals, Both Big and Small

Once you have a basic workout plan that you’ve written down, you want to set some goals for yourself. The first goals you will set are going to be the number of reps, or miles, or minutes you expect yourself to reach for each and every exercise. You should write these goals down on a spreadsheet so that you can track them each time you go to the gym. Once you’ve reached a goal at least 3 times, you should set your goal a little higher. In addition to these smaller goals, you should have some bigger goals, like completing a long cycling or running race, or completing one of those crazy obstacle course races.

Give Your Routine Some Variety

You don’t want to make just one routine for working out, you want to have at least two or three routines. Each routine should focus on a different set of muscle groups. You should have one for your upper body, one for your lower body and one for your core. Or you can work on aerobic activity, anaerobic activity, and flexibility. Whatever it is you choose to do, set goals and choose one day of the week for each routine.

Reward Yourself

It’s important to create a system of rewards for yourself as well. How you choose to reward yourself is dependent upon what kinds of things get you excited. If you are attending Vermont Law, you might be excited by the idea of observing a state supreme court case. You could reward yourself by only allowing yourself to make that trip if you meet one of your major goals.

Buy Clothes That are a Size Too Small

Another way of motivating yourself, although it might be a bit extreme, is to buy yourself a few exciting outfits that are just a tad bit too small. This way, you can only wear them once you lose a little bit of weight. Just remember, the more exciting the outfit, the faster you will reach your goals.