It’s mid-January and you’re likely in the “dwindling” phase of the new year. The holidays have died down, you’re back in the throes of a busy work schedule, and the weather is gloomier than ever.
And yet, it’s still close enough to January 1 for you to remember that you’re “supposed” to be well on your way to being the fittest and healthiest version of yourself. It’s a discouraging process we go through at the start of every new year, and I say “discouraging” because most of us make the choice to forego our ambitious resolutions and keep on keepin’ on with our old lifestyles.
Nope, not this year, my friends. This year, we’ll stay motivated and actually make strides towards a better and healthier self. How? Well, read on.
Remember why you started
What’s your motivation to exercise? It is to lose weight? To reduce your risk of disease? To watch your children grow up, or just to maintain your muscle mass?
Whatever got you moving in the first place should be something to keep in mind. Your motivation can change and develop over time but there always has to be “why” to get you off the couch and out the door. Write down your motivations and post them somewhere you’ll see every day. This will be a constant reminder of what is driving you to stay fit.
Find a tribe
We, by nature, are social beings. That’s why it’s so much more motivating and fun to exercise when you do it with someone else. The high fives, the friendly rivalries, and the positive encouragement can make exercise something you look forward to rather than dread. Also, when you don’t show up your friends will keep you accountable and remind you that they missed you.
These days, there are many group fitness gyms such as CrossFit out there. You can also explore other options such as running clubs, cycling groups, basketball and soccer pickup games, walking clubs, swimming classes, Zumba, and the list goes on. All you have to do is find the activity and the group of people that works best for you.
Vary your exercises
No one likes going into the gym and doing the same thing over and over again. A great way to stay motivated is to do a variety of activities, instead of the same old boring one. This could mean you use a variety of gym equipment and machines, or it could just mean you work on different muscles on different days. Many people like to do a variety of real-life activities, such as golfing, hiking, and playing tennis or volleyball.
The activity doesn’t matter as much as the simple fact that you’re moving, and especially that you’re moving in a variety of different ways. Personal trainers and functional fitness gyms like CrossFit are good options if you don’t want to know how to create a variety of movements.
Do things you enjoy
It’s a lot easier to exercise when exercise doesn’t feel like “exercise” but rather, it’s just plain fun. Find something that you enjoy doing, period. For me, it’s basketball. I can play pickup games for hours on end and not think twice about how tired I am. Personally, basketball is pure enjoyment so the physiological benefits are simply an added bonus.
You might enjoy rock climbing, racquetball, golfing, badminton, ultimate Frisbee or any other sport or activity. You don’t necessarily have to do that activity 3-5 times a week, but doing something you enjoy can reinvigorate your motivation to be in good shape.
Set long- and short-term goals
Beyond simply having a reason why you exercise, it is important to have goals along the way. You want to write down your goals and keep them in a place that you’ll see them often. You might have a long-term goal of losing 20 pounds. A good short-term goal to support your long-term goal would be to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Another short-term, supportive goal could be to lose one pound per week. Another goal could be applied to your eating habits and so on.
Intermediate goals are a tremendous help because they help you to see bright spots along your journey to your long-term goal. My current long-term goal is to be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. My short-term goal is to add 3-5 pushups weekly to my consecutive total of 100. Even though I’m currently a long way away from my goal, I have hope each week in seeing myself grow closer and closer.
Are you feeling motivated to stay motivated? Don’t let 2019 pass you by without any positive change.