It’s the start of a new school year, and for some of you, the beginning of your college experience. If you haven’t noticed yet, campus is crawling with students. They’re in the cafeteria, the commons, the library, the courtyard, and especially in the Integrated Wellness Complex.

Each year hundreds of students flood the gym with every intention of kick-starting their new workout routines. Unfortunately as the first few weeks pass, students begin to abandon the gym and their goals of creating healthy habits.

21 days is the accepted norm for the length of time to form a habit. However, a recent study conducted by the University College in London proves that it may take longer to form a habit. In the study, it took individuals an average of 66 days to create a routine. Researchers also found extreme outliers; for one individual it took only 18 days, and 84 days for another. What this means is that those students who quit going to the gym in the first few weeks barely give themselves a fighting chance!

So here are some hints to help you:

1. Have a reason!

Are you working out for stress relief? Do you enjoy running? Are you trying to spend time outside or enjoying the weather? Do you want to lose weight or tone up? Gain muscle? All of these things are reasons for going to the gym, and if you keep them in mind, it will make it easier to keep working for it!

2. What are the benefits?

If you know why are you are working out, for example trying to beat your personal time for running a mile, it makes it easier. These are your goals, whether it’s looking better, feeling better or just for fun, if you know what the benefits are you’re going to fight for it!

3.  Make a plan.

Hitting the gym takes time, and sometimes it will seem like you don’t have any time left. This is why you should make a plan. Sit down and spend some time planning out when the gym fits into your schedule. Remember these are your goals and they’re on your time.

4.  Be Patient.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a great reminder. You aren’t going to see instant results. These things take time and you have to gauge your progress day by day. If you didn’t achieve what you want, there is always tomorrow. Don’t give up!

5.  Indulge in Success!

A great way to self-motivate is by enjoying what you have achieved. You shaved off 30 seconds from your mile time! You can lift 10 more pounds than you used to! You lost 5 pounds, GO YOU! Appreciate yourself, what you’ve done and keep doing it!