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by Erin Weaver

Everyone wants to be healthy but plenty of us fail at turning these ambitions into reality. With a busy life that includes friends, family, farm work, social commitments, and everything else, exercise can easily drift to the bottom of your list of priorities. In reality, getting into a regular exercise routine is a two-step process. You’ve got to plan ahead to create a routine that will work for you, and then you actually have to stick to it. So how do you actually do it?

Figure Out What You Like

Think about forms of exercise you’ve enjoyed in the past, or pinpoint all the ones that you hate. Look for recommendations from friends and try to find a few exercise options that suit you. Do you want to be in a gym, outdoors, or at home? Should it be equipment-heavy or super cheap?

Be Realistic

If you’ve never managed to stick with a workout routine before, don’t tell yourself that you’ll work out six days a week. Equally, if your nearest gym is a forty-minute drive away, will you ever go? Be realistic with yourself about the type, time, and frequency of routine that you can keep up with.

Make Time

If you’ve got a 5 a.m. wake-up call, don’t tell yourself that you’ll work out in the morning. Look at your daily and weekly schedule and figure out when you can make time. Maybe you could commit to a Tuesday evening workout, or make half an hour over lunch every weekday. You need to carve out real time on a regular basis to devote to exercise.

Take Baby Steps

If you’re currently unfit or you’re trying something new, start small and make a plan to build up. Talk to a trainer or an experienced friend if you can, and find out a level of progress that’s realistic for your current fitness level and the time you can commit. If it’s a struggle to run half a mile right now, don’t try to run ten miles every day. Figure out how you can build up to a mile, and then three, and then five, and so on.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Once you’ve begun, you need to hold yourself accountable so you keep going. Ask a friend or your partner to keep on top of you about your workouts. Make a spreadsheet to track your exercise progress. Use apps or alarms to remind you when it’s workout time. Give yourself strong reminders that make it hard for you to get lazy – this is what will keep you going even when you really don’t want to get off the couch.

The hardest part of establishing an exercise routine is beginning. There are a thousand mental blocks that can stand in your way, but you’ll overcome them most easily with a good plan in place. Follow these steps to get yourself going and pushing forward with a routine that really works for you.

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Seven Skincare Sins You Should Stop Committing

Everyone wants great skin, and we’re all guilty of going down the Google rabbit hole looking for skincare tips and tricks to get us there. However, while Pinterest and YouTube are full of helpful information about skincare, they also tend to offer some pretty questionable advice. Many of these skincare sins are super common, and you’ve probably committed some of them yourself. But if you want great skin, you’ve got to give them up. Now, repeat after me: “Thou shalt stop…”

Washing Your Face Too Gently

Most of us know that regularly scrubbing our delicate facial skin is a bad idea. That doesn’t mean you should be too gentle though. You need to thoroughly wash your face at least once a day to get rid of the grime and oil build-ups that cause roughness and pimples.

Piling On Products

Skincare addicts are often guilty of this one. Don’t start using a bunch of new products at once, or over-saturate your skincare routine. By throwing lots of products at your skin, you’re making it hard to tell what’s working and what’s not. Try each product for at least two weeks before introducing anything new.

Putting Toothpaste On Pimples

The teenage classic of popping a blob of toothpaste on a pimple is actually terrible for your skin! It will dry the spot out, but it also causes redness, discoloration, and sometimes even burns. Avoid this home remedy and use a cheap spot treatment instead.

Using Bad DIY Treatments

Equally, lots of DIY facemasks, moisturizers, and scrubs can be terrible for your skin. Avoid any DIY recipes that are heavy on lemon or baking soda, which are the most common offenders. Lemon is far too acidic and baking soda is much too basic for your delicate skin pH.

Skipping Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential part of your skincare routine. Even on cloudy days, harmful UVA and UVB rays are working to prematurely age your skin. By using a light sunscreen every day you’ll keep your skin plump and youthful for longer.

Overusing Pore Strips

Pore strips are grimly fascinating. Who hasn’t looked at their post-pore strip gunk with a grossed-out satisfaction? However, they only get rid of the superficial part of blackheads, leaving the roots untouched. Using them too often can cause skin tearing and larger pores, so apply them no more than once a week, or abstain completely.

Ignoring Your Skin Type

Maybe your oily-skinned friend loves using salicylic acid, but your skin is super dry. Go your own way! Don’t listen to product reviews or recommendations unless they pertain to your skin type, texture, and specific problems you’re trying to counteract. Finding products that are appropriate for your skin type is essential, so don’t fall victim to skincare peer pressure.

Skincare can be a tricky area to master, but it is possible! The first step is giving up your bad habits, which probably include some of these nasty tips. Move forward with better techniques and you’ll have happier, healthier, and more glowing skin.

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