Summer’s coming to an end, and life might be settling into a routine for lots of folks. Now that the kids are back in school and the weekend out-of-town excursions are slowing down, it’s a great time to establish an exercise routine that you really enjoy, so you can stick to it throughout the autumn season, into the holidays and beyond.

MAKE IT FUN: If your fitness regime puts a smile on your face, you’re much more likely to stick to it. Does the gym bore you? Try something new and different. Look for classes in hula hooping, trapeze or belly dance, or find a team sport you enjoy, like volleyball, basketball or ultimate Frisbee. Nature lovers can make hiking, biking, paddling or skiing a part of their workout. If you thrive on social connections, make a standing date with a friend–or two, or three–to take regular walks, play racquet ball, or whatever you enjoy. If you wish you had more family time, find an activity that everyone can enjoy together, and put it on the calendar.

PACE YOURSELF: Choose a routine that works for you. Feeling a little challenged is great, but if you’re in pain for days after a workout, you’ve overdone it. Start moderately and work your way up to bigger challenges.

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF: Your fitness routine is yours alone. There’s no logic and no benefit to comparing yourself to the human rubber-band on the next yoga mat or the uber-lifter with the free weights. We’ve all been down different paths in life, and our journey to fitness is unique, just like we are.

WARM UP AND STRETCH: Don’t just jump into strenuous exercise: be sure to limber up with some light movement and stretching before getting started. You might enjoy it so much that you slip a little stretching into your day-to-day activities, like when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or for the printer to spit out fifty pages.

EAT WELL: A wholesome diet is the perfect complement to a fitness regime. A conscious diet and consistent exercise motivate and reinforce each other. While there are different perspectives on the perfect diet, everyone agrees that eating plenty of vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugar are good for you. Talk to your health care practitioner to determine the right diet for your particular needs.

HYDRATE: Drink plenty of water to fuel your body.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE: Build a relationship with a skilled chiropractor, who can help keep your body in good alignment and ease the aches and pains that may arise as you embrace your fitness program.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MOTIVES: We all respond to different incentives to keep up with our fitness program. If treating yourself to a weekly massage is a reward that keeps your resolve firm, go for it!

Remember, you are a better parent, partner and friend when you’re enjoying the benefits of exercise, such as good health, vitality, and reduced stress. Making the time to take care of yourself is a gift to yourself and your loved ones, and perhaps an inspiration to them as well.