4. Put it on paper

Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write it down. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.

You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals — and remind you that you're making progress.

5. Join forces with friends, neighbors or others

You're not in this alone. Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.

6. Reward yourself

After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

7. Be flexible

If you're too busy to work out or simply don't feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

Now that you've regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember, physical activity is for life. Review these tips whenever you feel your motivation slipping.

Jan. 19, 2013 See more In-depth