Some might say that putting the words ‘regularly’ and ‘exercise’ together is an oxymoron. Being regular with anything is quite challenging and with our fast-paced and hectic schedules, no matter how much we may want to or how many New Years’ resolutions we make to do it – who has the time to exercise regularly? But consistency is key. And this comes down to your state of mind. Try following any of the tips mentioned below to give your willpower a bit of a nudge.
The ‘not so secret’, secret to exercising regularly is motivation. And with this, the primary issue that we should aim to address is “how do I stay motivated to exercise regularly?”
A recent study conducted by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research suggests that dieters who keep a food journal may lose twice as much weight as the ones who don’t record their food. So can maintaining a fitness journal help you stay motivated to work out regularly?
Dieting and exercising, although often done together, are mutually exclusive and have nothing to do with each other. It may not be right to assume that something that works with dieting could also work for exercising. Having said that, though, tracking your progress is a strategy that can keep you focused and motivated. So this could be worth a shot; plus, you might just feel guilty enough to not miss your next workout when you can visually tell how many gym/workout days you’ve skipped on your calendar!
5 Tips to Stay Motivated
1. Change your Perspective
Why do you want to exercise? When you have an answer to the ‘why’, you don’t really have to ask about the ‘how’.
Your reason doesn’t solely have to be to get fit. Try to think about other reasons like how an exercise routine could positively impact the way of life for the people who live with you. You can influence your kids, parents or siblings to a large extent. Think of yourself as an athlete, not a spectator.
When you think about more than just getting fit or losing weight, you open the door to another source of motivation for yourself.
2. Schedule your Workout Time
Whether you’re going to the gym, a pilates class or dance class or even just planning on working out at home, schedule a time to do it, just like how you would schedule meeting a client, a friend or taking your kids to the park.
When you think about exercising after a certain event of your day is over, failure is inevitable because there are too many variables to make it happen or not happen. Sit down and get organized. What part of your day is least filled with any disturbances or distractions? Is it early morning, evening or night? Whatever time you choose, stick to it, treat it how you would a doctor’s appointment, which you just can’t miss. Prioritizing your exercise timings are very important and help you to incorporate a routine.
3. Set a Goal
“I want to be able to run for 15 minutes straight – without stopping and without having trouble breathing.”
You now have your reasons chalked out, but what are your goals?
Reasons and goals are two different things that change with time. You start with one purpose and find motivation for an entirely different reason. Similarly, goals change over time too. Start with simple, small goals and change them as you advance in your workout regime.
To start, keep running on your schedule without skipping, and think of a goal – a short term goal is always better to start with. For some people, it could initially be about losing a certain amount of weight, while for others it could be about training to run a marathon at the end of the month. Your goal can be anything: lifting simple weights, building core strength, planking for four minutes, or doing a split with ease.
Remember that these short term goals are what get you closer to your bigger goal, which is to get fit, healthy and of course into great shape.
4. Bring Fun and Variety to your Workouts
To stay motivated, it is essential for us to bring change and variety to our everyday routines. This is the way the human mind works, so we must not forget to mix it up when it comes to exercising.
Try to include activities in your routine that you enjoy like dancing, playing sports, hiking or going on a long walk with a friend; or sign up for a toning and sculpting class that changes choreography every second week or a trail run that regularly changes its route.
You have to listen to your inner voice when it comes to choosing the best workout for you. Dancers feel the highest energy boost from dancing instead of running or working out at the gym. What is it that boosts you and lifts your spirits? You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym to call it a workout session, any kind of physical activity can be your workout.
Bringing variety to your workouts also challenges your body in different ways. You work on new muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. Switching it up can bring fulfillment to your exercise routines.
Tai chi and yoga are two forms of exercise that serve dual purposes as physical activity and mental therapy. Take breaks from your regular workouts and include a different form of exercise to keep you from getting bored.
5. Extend and Ask for Support
Some people tend to have trouble asking for help. But when you want to stick to a regular exercise program, you need a support system and encouragement from those around you. When it’s just you, it is absolutely effortless to hit the snooze button; but when you know that you have a friend waiting for you at the track, you can’t just skip it. You can also join online groups and communities with fitness trainers and nutrition experts and get support from other people who are on the same fitness journey. This way, you know you’re not alone, you’ll be motivated to exercise regularly and you might even make some quality new friends!
If you put your mind to it, you can absolutely change your perspective. Set a goal and work toward it, invite a friend, mark your goal on your calendar and try to do any physical activity that you think is fun. This way, you will be filled with encouragement that can keep you highly motivated to exercise regularly.