The New Year brings the same resolutions for many people each year, usually involving workout motivation and eating healthier. Gyms are packed with people for a few weeks, and then they slowly go back to normal as people give up on their resolutions. Sound familiar?
It’s easy to fall back into your normal routine as the holidays unwind and life gets busy again. But it’s important to stay motivated in your fitness goals. Exercising is extremely important to your overall health, keeping you healthier, stronger, and happier. I know it can be hard to stay find workout motivation, especially when you’re tired after a long day at work/school or when the weather is crappy. I’ve put together a list of ways to boost your workout motivation, perfect for sticking to your New Year resolutions or any time throughout the year.
How to Conquer Your Workout Motivation
You need to work out for the right reasons to stay motivated and be successful. If you’re working out to make someone else happy or because someone else wants you to, it’s very easy to lose motivation and give it up. This needs to be something that you are passionate about and that you want to do. You need to have goals, want to make changes, and live a healthier lifestyle.
Keep goals in sight:
A key part of motivation is putting and keeping your goal in sight, it’s a lot easier to face your workout motivation if it’s in front of you rather than you saying it once and never looking at or thinking about it again. Put pictures of the body you want or that inspire you in visible areas. Put one on the mirror, on the door before you walk out, in your car, or even in your phone. All of these are places that you should see a lot, so having that reminder there will motivate you to stay on track. Put inspirational quotes or statements in the same places as well to boost your workout motivation. I also love creating lists and having my goals set out in front of me with steps to reach each goal (plus I love crossing things off lists).
If you make plans to workout with friends, they can help encourage you to get up and go workout. It will also be harder to skip those early morning or after work workouts if you know you have someone waiting on you or expecting to see you. Or you can workout with your significant other and you can help motivate each other to stick to your goals.
Some people won’t support or understand your fitness goals and that’s okay. If you need to find some friends to help encourage you on your fitness journey, download an app on your phone. Apps are a great way to find friends who encourage you and cheer you on as you reach your fitness goals. While some apps track your workouts or movement throughout the day, other apps have daily or monthly challenges to motivate you to workout. Some of my favorite apps are FitBit, Runkeeper, and Charity Miles. The FitBit app is pretty cool, you can track a lot on it. You can track food and water intake, workouts, and participate in fitness challenges! And you don’t need a FitBit to use the mobile app. Runkeeper is a great tool for runners or people hoping to get into running. You can track your runs, participate in challenges, and find different training plans. By tracking your activity with the Charity Miles app you earn and donate money to a charity of your choice. So get your fitness on and earn money for a charity!
Schedule your workout:
Working out in the morning is a great way to get your workout in because you have more energy and motivation. You aren’t tired after a long day of school or work. If working out early really isn’t for you (I’ve been known to sleep through my alarm), then figure out a time that works for you and try to workout at that same time every day. Although I do tend to find that working out earlier keeps me motivated to eat healthy throughout the day, along with feeling happier. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins makes you happy. Remember? But planning time for your workout and sticking to a routine helps keep you on track, scheduling it at the same time creates a habit.
Join an accountability group:
Sometimes it’s hard to find friends who have similar fitness goals as you, for instance many of my friends don’t seem very interested in working out. If an app isn’t motivating enough for you, try joining an accountability group. I participate in an accountability group on Facebook and it’s a great form of motivation for me. I love seeing everyones progress and seeing and sharing recipes and dealing with struggles with everyone.
Set achievable goals:
It’s hard to stay on track when you set your goals too high or long term. If your ultimate goal is to lose fifty pounds, for example, it is a pretty daunting number. It’s easy to lose your motivation to workout when you aren’t reaching seeing significant results or achieving your goals. All your hard work seems insignificant when you only lose a few pounds compared to your overall goal. So set small, achievable goals (say a few pounds per month) that lead up to your ultimate goal. I prefer not to set my goals on weight, because muscle weighs more than fat. So I like to set goals on lifting a certain amount or running a certain distance in a certain time. Or even on my measurements or how my clothes fit.
This will require some discipline and maybe the help of your significant other. Take away something you love to do until you’ve reached one of your goals. Then when you’ve hit your goal, reward yourself. Go get a mani/pedi, go shopping (and buy a new workout outfit), or go away for the weekend. Reward yourself with something that won’t undo all your hard work but that you still enjoy! Rewarding yourself for your hard work is nice, but it’s also a form of positive reinforcement.
An easy way to stay increase your workout motivation is to find something you love doing. Maybe you love surfing or riding your bike or taking dance classes, whatever it is, find something that you love to do. It will seem less like working out and you will look forward to doing it. Any sort of activity that gets you off the couch and moving around is a great start to getting in shape.
Take it outside:
A great way to find some workout motivation is to take it outside. A change of scenery can stimulate your sense and make the workout seem more fun. Plus I always love an opportunity to get outside and connect with nature. The fresh air and exercise can revive your spirit! Go hiking, run on the beach, or bike around town.
Remember, it takes a while before you will notice any changes. So when you feel like giving up, remember that and keep going! Also, everyone is different and has a different history of working out and nutrition – so what may take someone two weeks to accomplish may take someone else four weeks. If you hit a plateau or fall off track, don’t give up! Change up your routine and just get back on track. Also remember it takes 21 days to make a habit. So it’s important to be consistent in working out and eating clean in the first few weeks, long enough to make the gym a habit and part of your routine.
Switch things up:
Whether you love working out at the gym or not, things will get stale if you stick to the same routine. Not only that, you will hit a plateau where you won’t see any more progress. It’s important to diversify your workouts to avoid hitting a plateau and to keep your workouts interesting. Try taking different classes at your gym or trying different activities . Maybe book a session with a personal trainer
Ditch the scale:
Muscle weighs more than fat, and you gain muscle before burning fat. So as you workout and build muscle you might notice you’ll gain weight weight before losing it. This can be discouraging if you’re weighing yourself to check your progress. And you build muscle before you start burning fat. Ditch the scale and base your progress on how you feel. Base it on your energy levels, how your clothes fit, how strong you feel, etc. Another great way to monitor your progress is to take pictures and measurements. Sometimes you can’t see the changes because you look at yourself daily, but looking at pictures and measurements you can see the changes. You can also monitor changes by judging your energy levels, your strength, and how your clothes fit.
Get ready the night before:
If you know you’re going to workout early in the morning, set your workout clothes out before you go to bed. Or if you know you’re going to struggle with your motivation after work, bring your clothes with you or change right when you get home. Or another alternative is to sleep in your workout clothes so you have less to do when you wake up!
Have a plan:
Just showing up to the gym thinking that you want to get in shape won’t get you anywhere. You need to really want to make a change for it to work, because it will require dedication and consistency. It might involve changing your diet or cutting back on alcohol. Have a plan and know how you will reach your goals. Do you want to run a marathon? Do some research on training methods and know the proper strengthening exercises and stretches you should do. While I enjoy running, I’m not one of those people who can run on a treadmill. So I know that, for me, I can’t just go to the gym and hop on a treadmill because I won’t be motivated to return.
Just get dressed:
If you’re really struggling with motivation one day, try changing into your workout clothes. I find that once I’m dressed it’s easier to find my workout motivation. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting up and getting the process started.
If you haven’t worked out much before, you will want to start slowly and build gradually. This will help you from getting injured and burnt out quickly. Take rest days to keep your body and mind focused and healthy. Don’t give up everything all at once either. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, you don’t want to risk injuring yourself by increasing the length of your runs or the amount of weight you lift too quickly. And you might lose your motivation to workout in the time off from being injured or just because you got injured in the first place.
I hope you find this list helpful and you’ve found some workout motivation now! What are some ways you deal with your workout motivation and stick to your fitness goals?