It can be difficult to come home after an eight-hour day, change clothes, and go to the gym, especially when the prospect of dinner and a night on the couch is extremely enticing. That's why having a diet and exercise plan is essential to shedding pounds, improving your long-term health, and feeling more confident. There are many ways to stay motivated. It starts with setting goals and sticking to your plan.

First and foremost, the main focus should be on why you're exercising in the first place. Do you want to increase your upper body strength, sleep better, improve muscle tone, increase your energy; or are you simply trying to look better in a swimsuit? These reasons are for you and they should be foremost in your mind.

According to, there are many ways to put your hard work into perspective. Start by making an exercise journal, where you can record your workout plans and design new ones as you go. You can also write about how the exercise is affecting your overall mood. Another idea is to take a picture of yourself every month in your workout gear to see how your efforts are paying off.

One of the best ways to stay motivated and increase the social aspect of exercising is to have a friend become your workout buddy. Design a plan around both of your schedules. Having someone to talk to at the gym makes the experience far more enjoyable and you can help change another person's life as well as your own. Additionally, try to tailor your workout plan around the same muscle groups and exercises so that you're not on opposite sides of the gym when you go together.

Making the decision to stick to an exercise plan will work wonders to improve your energy levels, physical appearance, and self-confidence.