By far and away the hardest part of starting and sticking with an exercise program is maintaining your motivation over the long haul. Even the most committed of gym room junkies have days when they don’t feel like working out. So what’s a girl to do when her motivation to exercise starts to wane?
1. Get Clear About Your Reasons for Exercising
List all the reasons why you want to exercise. First, cover the basics, like having a healthy heart and being stronger. Then, dig a little deeper. Jot down all the reasons that stir your emotions, things like feeling beautiful or sexy; having more energy to play with your kids; or feeling good about your body when you look in the mirror. Once you’re sure that you’ve written all the reasons you could think of, post your list in a place where you’ll see it every day. Your bathroom mirror or night table are both good options.
2. Set SMART Goals
Setting clear fitness goals is a great way to ramp up your motivation. Looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness? Then register for a 5k run/walk. Want to improve your upper body strength? Set a target number of push-ups you’ll be able to perform by a certain date. Trying to lose weight? Purchase a goal dress one or two sizes too small for an upcoming special occasion. Finally remember, your goals should always be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
3. Keep A Daily Fitness Journal
Documenting your feelings and thoughts about each workout in a journal can be a great source of inspiration on days when you’re feeling sluggish. Being able to look back and see how far you’ve come may just be the kick you need when you feel like giving up. So, if you don’t already have a journal, get one. FACT: People who journal about their workouts are more likely to achieve their fitness goals.
4. Exercise First Thing in the Morning
By working out soon after you rise, you’ll start your day with an energy boost and a feeling of accomplishment, long before most people have had their morning coffee. And, as an added bonus, you’ll have the rest of the day to tackle all your other responsibilities. Besides, people who make a habit of exercising at the start of their day are less likely to skip their workouts. After all, it’s unlikely your friends, coworkers or relatives will call you to chat or invite you out as you’re rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn, right?
5. Consider Your Workout as YOU Time.
Most women, spend so much time taking care of others (their partner, kids, parents, etc.) that they often tend to neglect their own self care. But let’s face it ladies, if you aren’t in good health you won’t be able to care for your loved ones, right? So, think of your exercise time as your chance to make you and your health a priority. Choose an activity you really enjoy to ensure your workout is really all about you. Then, schedule a time slot for your workout in your appointment calendar – just as you would for any other appointment. Finally, make the commitment; never let yourself down (or your body) by skipping your exercise session.
6. Reward Yourself for Successes.
If you’ve dropped those first 10 pounds, shaved minutes of your 10k time, or stuck to your plan of hitting the gym five days/week, it’s time to reward yourself. So, indulge. Go out and buy a new pair of shoes, that piece of jewellery you’ve had your eye on for months, or even a new pair of skinny jeans to celebrate the thinner, sexier you. Or better still, pamper yourself with a day at the spa for a massage and facial. Rewarding yourself as you make progress towards your goals will go a long way to keeping you motivated. But don’t succumb to temptation – avoid treating yourself with sweet or fatty foods.
7. Recruit an Accountability Partner.
If you feel like you’re losing your mojo perhaps you should consider recruiting an accountability partner. Among your co-workers, neighbours, family and friends, there are bound to be people (at least one) you can count on to help you keep your word when you commit to exercising. Can’t think of anyone you can connect with to workout with on a regular basis? Hire a personal trainer. Knowing your trainer is at the gym waiting to put you through your paces will make it much harder to blow off workouts. Can’t afford a trainer? Then sign up for a class or start going to the gym at the same time every day. Eventually, the people there will get to know you and start expecting you to show up. You’ll be amazed at how having that sense of community and knowing you’ll be missed will have you dragging your butt out the door.
And one final note ladies. Remember: Stay active and keep motivated!