Another day. Another workout. And you’ve got no motivation to do it.
Making exercise a habit isn’t easy. It’s much simpler to sit back and binge your current Netflix obsession. (Yes, we are still watching!) Unfortunately, the couch doesn’t give you long-lasting health benefits.
Many people make goals to eat better and exercise more. Forty percent of all chronic diseases can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. When we achieve our fitness goals, we see results in how we look and, more importantly, how we feel.
Sometimes, when we make a goal, we don’t stick to it. The goal may be unrealistic or place obstacles in our path. Often, when we don’t see results quickly, we start losing motivation to work out.
Take New Year’s resolutions. Many Americans make resolutions every year, but studies show that most give up on their resolutions surprisingly early—on January 19. Approximately 80% of those who make resolutions leave them in the rearview by the second week of February.
No matter what time of year it is, we all need a little advice to follow through on our diet and fitness goals. How can you stick to your goal instead of leaving it by the wayside? Read these tips on how to motivate yourself to work out, so you can achieve your fitness goals.
Keep your eyes on the prize!
1. Create Clear Goals
Your goals can either set you up for success or lay the groundwork for failure. Unrealistic or negative goals lead to frustration. When setting fitness goals, you should aim for objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable and time-based—in other words, SMART.
Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are tools that guide your goal setting. When workout goals are specific and measurable, you can track your progress over time.
For example, your fitness goal may be to lose weight, but leaving it at that is too vague. Its lack of specificity will make it harder for you to see the finish line. Instead, try setting a goal to lose 10 lbs. in three months. An actionable, specific outcome lets you plan out exactly how to get there.
Supplement your long-term goal with shorter goals that you can meet along the way. Crushing short-term fitness goals keeps you engaged and helps you see how far you’ve come.
Write Down Your “Why”
Once you’ve set fitness goals, write them down somewhere, preferably in a place you’ll see them often. If you track workout progress in a journal, add your goals to a new page. When you jot them down, include why you want to complete the goals you’ve set.
Are you trying to develop a healthier lifestyle for you and your family? Are you trying to tone your muscles, so you feel more confident in your skin? Maybe you want to increase your endurance in preparation for a 5K. Your “why” helps you visualize your future self. When you feel unmotivated, picture yourself achieving your goals.
2. Find Your Magic Workout Time
Not everyone can jump out of bed ready to exercise. Nor does everyone have the energy to exercise after work and making dinner for the kids. Choose a time of day to work out that’s best for you. Early risers may find exercising first thing in the morning helps power their days. Those who prefer to sleep in may be in the mindset to move in the afternoon or early evening.
Schedule Exercise Like an Appointment
Don’t try to work out when you know you won’t be in the mood. Make exercise a priority and schedule it for an optimal time. If you need to put your workout on the calendar, do it! Set yourself a reminder so you won’t miss it. Treat daily exercise like an appointment. Arrive on time and ready to begin.
Make Sure Your Head Is in It
Stress. Worry. Anxiety. Exercise can improve your mood and release stress, but some days your mind just isn’t in it. If you can’t concentrate on your workout, you should skip the day. Your exercises should be focused and intentional, maintaining proper form. A harried head or bad mood stops you from getting the most out of your workout and could cause you to injure yourself.
Move Throughout the Day
Finding a larger block of time to exercise may be hard for you. Spread bursts of exercise throughout the day. You can walk during lunch, take quick breaks to stretch and do bodyweight exercises while you watch TV in the evenings.
3. Set Yourself up for Success
Your workout is not the time to fly by the seat of your pants. Exercise should be deliberate. Fitness goals are best achieved by those who carry out a plan. Before you hit the gym or jump on your rower, you need a plan of action. What do you want to accomplish this session? And how does that tie into your larger goals?
Develop an Exercise Plan
It’s easier to stay motivated to work out when there are steps before you. Plan what muscles to work and which exercises to perform each day. That way, you can’t back out based on lack of preparation. You’ll already have a game plan for the week.
You can hire a personal trainer to develop a workout plan, follow exercises from your favorite fitness influencers, download an exercise app or create a workout plan yourself. Track how many reps you perform or miles you go as you follow your fitness plan.
Take Away Obstacles
Another way to support your fitness journey is to keep yourself accountable—and make it easy to do so. Avoid situations where you can let yourself make excuses.
If you plan to work out at the gym, put your gym bag in your car the morning before work. Want to walk at lunch? Leave a pair of tennis shoes under your office desk. Is it hard to eat right during the week? Buy the basics for healthy meals and prep them every Sunday.
Convenience Is Key
When things are convenient, we’re more likely to do them. Try to make your exercise time as convenient as possible.
Lay out your workout clothes by the bed so they are ready for you in the morning. Purchase home gym equipment so you can exercise at any time, no more waiting for machines. Get a membership at the gym closest to you, not the one that takes you across town. Use apps and YouTube videos to guide or supplement your workouts.
4. Ditch the “All or Nothing” Attitude
Exercise is not all or nothing. Being healthy is not all or nothing. If you have a family event or get busy at work, you can be flexible with your goals without dropping them completely. Minor missteps don’t negate your overall journey.
Missing one workout is OK. But it doesn’t give you permission to miss the whole week. Don’t beat yourself up about the day you missed. Just show up for yourself the next day.
A piece of your best friend’s birthday cake doesn’t ruin everything you’ve worked for—live life. Have one piece of cake. Then get back on track. When presented with moments that challenge you, choose the healthiest option or work around the situation instead of letting it derail your health goals.
5. Track Your Progress
The most fulfilling part of working out is celebrating your wins! Big wins. Small wins. They all deserve recognition. But you can’t celebrate successes if you don’t know what they are.
Tracking your progress over time helps you see how far you’ve come. Write down the results of each session. What did you do? How many reps? How much weight? You’ll be able to compare where you started to where you are now. Seeing results helps you stay motivated to work out.
You can also take progress pictures, measure your muscles or use your clothes to track the progress you make.
If you’re tracking progress by time, the müüv app records your minutes moved each session. Smart audio coaching from your mobile device incorporates Stamina equipment, giving you a fun, approachable workout experience.
Maybe the motivation you need is the right equipment. Make headway on your health goals and have fun doing it with the right resources.