I know better than anyone the importance of staying motivated. I definitely have days when I don’t want to work out, or I get discouraged. I think people assume that folks that exercise regularly must love to exercise. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s just not true. I’m sure some people can’t wait to get to the gym. Sure some people would rather workout than eat ice cream. I am not one of those people. I constantly struggle with staying motivated and getting myself to the gym. Here are some of the things that help me get back into the gym when I feel like I’m losing my workout mojo:
Buy new workout clothes or just make sure yours are clean. Have them packed and ready to go the night before. If you’re struggling with finding the motivation to work out, not being able to find your shoes or socks certainly won’t do you any favors when you’re trying to leave the house. In fact, one obstacle on an unmotivated day is usually enough for me to postpone the workout. Don’t let that happen to you.
Track your calories and/or workouts
Websites like Livestrong.com (formerly thedailyplate.com) or Calorieking.com let you track your calories online. Exercise apps for smart phones such as Run Keeper or JEFIT track your workouts and progress. Some apps will even share your workouts on Facebook or Twitter. These programs and websites are great for tracking workouts, accountability, and getting support from your friends and family. I love seeing a loved ones post that they’ve worked out that day.
Set reasonable goals
I couldn’t run for 60 seconds last winter. So I gave myself a goal – Run for one entire minute. Once I felt comfortable doing that, I tried to run for two minutes straight. And so on. If I had set the goal to run a 5K within a month, I would have been discouraged, disappointed, and I might have stopped exercising because of it (I did run a 5K in May of this year). If you’d like a training plan, the internet is full of easy to follow training plans like this Couch to 5K one – www.c25k.com.
Make it a routine
Honestly the more I go to the gym to exercise, the easier it is to go the next time. I know that sounds strange, but it’s the truth. Once you miss a few days, it’s a lot easier to make excuses as to why you can’t or shouldn’t go. Before you know it, it’s been 2 weeks or 2 months and you haven’t exercised once.
Get a workout buddy or friend. Enlist your spouse or sister. Exercise is so much easier when you have someone to complain to or encourage. If you don’t have people in your life that share your enthusiasm, find a group online. The websites I mentioned above for tracking calories and workouts also have forums where people are solely there to discuss health and fitness. Everyone is there for the same reason and I’ve encountered lovely and supportive people in these forums.
Try new things
Everyone isn’t a runner. Some folks want to swim or attend aerobics classes. If you want to get into strength training, hire a trainer for a few sessions. Don’t be afraid to try new things. However, don’t wait until you find something you absolutely love to get into exercising at all. I’ve known plenty of people that are constantly trying something new or buying the latest exercising infomercial machine thinking that this will finally be their weight loss or fitness answer. I bet you know someone like that, too. The cold hard truth is that it will always be exercise, and if it’s easy, it’s not working.
Give yourself a reward
It would probably be better if the reward wasn’t food related, but if that’s what works for you, go ahead. You better believe that when I got down to my goal weight that I went out on a MAJOR new clothes shopping spree… Sometimes I think it hasn’t ended. Regardless, pick what motivates you. Exercise requires hard work and dedication. Think of all the other things you do in your life that require the same amount of dedication. Most of them probably come with a reward. The greatest reward is better health.