5 Tips to Stay Motivated to Exercise Regularly
Finding the motivation to workout and staying committed to your routine is a crucial aspect in the pursuit healthy living and fitness.
Not all of us have an inexhaustible desire to work out all the time. In fact, many people begin fitness routines, only to stop when they get bored, the results come too slowly, or they simply lack the motivation. Similarly, many people tend to fall off the fitness wagon in the fall and winter months, as the days become shorter, colder and darker.
The reality is that a high level of drive is necessary to stick to your regular workout and live a healthy life. You need to first get your mind right and your body will follow. This year, start thinking of yourself as an athlete, instead of a spectator. In doing so, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness and increased energy–so you can properly enjoy everything else in life. Here are 5 simple ways to stay motivated to exercise regularly.
Define Your Goals
One of the most effective strategies when it comes to achievement is to set smart goals. This can help you focus with a clear direction of where you’re heading and what you intend to accomplish. Start with large ambitions and then break them down into realistic, achievable ones. These smaller goals should be tangible and measurable, so that you can easily adapt your life and change your habits around meeting them. It’s easy to get frustrated when your targets are not realistic. For example, a short-term goal could be to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes five times per week, while your long-term goal could be to achieve that first 5K. Be sure to also write down your goals so that you can keep yourself accountable. Remember, the “why” is an important driving factor behind your motivation and success, so it really all starts here.
Schedule A Regular Workout Time
A large barrier to regular exercise can be finding the time in your busy schedule to actually go to the gym. Finding that time that works for you and doesn’t interfere with your other commitments will eliminate some excuses. Once you’ve found that sweet spot, treat your workout like a priority. Some of the most committed exercisers prefer to do so before heading to the office because of the considerable energy boost it provides for the rest of the day, others prefer in the evening once they’ve finished everything for the day. This ultimately depends on your schedule, your body and your preference. Whatever the case, finding that sweet spot in your everyday routine and booking in your own time is a great way to stay motivated.
Change Your Perspective
Exercise should be something you enjoy. A simple change in perspective from viewing working out as a chore to an activity, or even a luxury, can go a long way. Take it a step further by injecting your fitness routine with activities that you enjoy. Whether that’s finding time to play sports once per week, opting for an outdoor run instead or the treadmill, or joining a cycling class. Not only will it keep it fresh and interesting for yourself, but it will also keep your muscles guessing and your body growing. An open mind and sense of adventure can keep you motivated and looking forward to your next workout.
You’re Not Alone!
It’s a whole lot easier to hit the snooze button before that morning workout when you’re exercising all by yourself. It’s a little harder to leave your best friend waiting for you at the gym. Working out doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. In fact, incorporating the social aspect into your fitness routine can provide significant boosts in support, accountability and results. The most motivating aspects can often be the high-fives, laughs, words of encouragement and lifetime bonds that come with giving 100% alongside your peers. Whether it’s enlisting your best friend to sign up for the gym with you, or making new connections at a group fitness class, it’s much easier to take time out of your day when you’re not alone. If you’re new to working out, hiring a coach is a great way to get a personalized program while they will also provide you with the encouragement and challenges you need to stay on track.
Even just by sharing your intentions, goals and schedules with other people and expressing what you expect out of yourself, they will check on you and help you with accountability. The people you surround yourself with, from your everyday workout partner to the positivity of the staff at the gym, make sure they are supportive, caring and motivating. They have a huge influence on you whether you realize it or not.
From the muscle gains to increased overall health, the benefits of fitness are well-documented. “Better health” or “weight loss” are great long-term motivation tools, however, it’s also important to find tangible ways to reward yourself along the way. Scheduling a relaxing massage is a wonderful way to unwind, whereas buying new workout gear that you look great in will show just how far you’ve come. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fitness related either–opt for a weekend getaway every now and then.
Rewarding yourself also has psychological effects that involves a cue to trigger the behaviour (getting yourself up for the gym), the routine (making it to the gym) and the reward. Over time, the motivation becomes intrinsic, as the brain begins to associate the sweat and hard work with the surge of feel-good endorphins that rush to your brain after a good gym session. Pretty soon, you’ll realize that the workout itself is the reward, and you won’t even want the treat.