When it comes to health and fitness, many people express difficulty in staying motivated. They start off the New Year with great intentions and find their enthusiasm dwindling after two weeks. We live in a very fast-paced world, so it’s easy to get distracted, but maintaining a positive state of health and fitness is like medicine. It’s something we need to pay close attention to in order to live our lives optimally.
So how do you stay on track with your fitness regime? How do you become one of those people that you see out there ripping up the tarmac or sweating it out in the gym?
To start with, you have to make small changes that are sustainable. You can’t suddenly decide you want to lift gigantic barbells when you’ve only ever managed a small dumbbell. Start with something that is attainable and increase from there. Plus, you can pay attention to our five simple and smart ways to stay motivated to exercise.
#1. Treat Yourself To Some new Workout Gear
You might think that it’s counter-intuitive to buy new clothes to sweat in, but if you’re going to commit to an exercise regime, you’re going to be doing it often. So, you might as well look great while doing it, right? There is also a huge psychological benefit to this. By purchasing workout gear that you want to wear and that you look great in, you’ll naturally want to put it on. Once it’s on, you need to do more than cook potatoes or lie on the couch… you actually need to work out.
Shoes are especially important when it comes to exercise as they are the support foundation for your entire body. If you’re taking up something like running or high impact training, you need to ensure you are supporting your feet effectively. There’s no guarantee that new running shoes will help you run faster, but they’ll definitely motivate you to try!
#2. Make Everything You Need Accessible
Keeping your exercise gear in an easy-to-access location prevents you from coming up with excuses as to why you can’t do it. If your shoes, clothing and any gear you might need are always available, it’s quick and easy for you to prepare and get going. The less obstacles in your way, the better, especially in the beginning phases where you are dying to find an excuse to bail out of exercising.
#3. Take Part In A Fitness Challenge
Humans enjoy being challenged, and for some reason it helps us stay focused on a particular goal. There are always fitness challenges floating around the social web:
• 100 squats a day for 30 days
• A plank a day for a month
• 30 press ups a day for 30 days
The list goes on and there are some really great and inventive ideas. But you can also challenge yourself. By challenging yourself, there is an expectation to achieve. There is also a boost of enthusiasm to get going and to stick with it. The sense of pride that is gained from successfully completing each day is incredible motivation to keep going. Once the challenge is up, you are scouting for the next one and ready to take it on with as much enthusiasm as the first time around. Definitely a great way to get going.
#4. Set Micro-Challenges And Rewards For Yourself
In line with the above point, challenging yourself with rewards is a great way to kickstart a regime. Start small and challenge yourself to exercise daily for seven days. Then start to increase it. Make a pact with yourself that you will exercise five times a week for the entire month or aim to run a certain distance over the space of a week. At the end of each week or when you’ve met a certain goal, reward yourself.
The best way to do this is to set up a schedule of challenges and rewards that you can visually see so that you can plot the journey along the way. Reward yourself with really cool stuff like a pedicure or sports massage, a shopping voucher or new workout clothing. But make the challenge something that really does push you to get involved. You can’t get rewards for nothing! The cool thing about this is being able to look back over the calendar of challenges and rewards to see where you’ve come from. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your progress.
#5. Set The Scene With Music Or Audio Books
While running or walking with earphones on is not the best idea – you won’t be able to hear cars or other pedestrians in an emergency situation – we totally condone working out to music if you’re indoors. If you’re going to be running the treadmill, working out in the gym, using an indoor cycle etc, then there is plenty of time for you to catch up on some great audio books or to listen to your favorite tunes.
Music definitely does motivate people to work out, so why not create multiple workout playlists? Make them in advance and make them as long as the intended duration of your workout. That way, when the music ends, you know that you’ve done your full hour or whatever the quota is. Working out to audio books is also a great way to get your fix of stories or information, killing two birds with one stone. It often distracts you to the point that you don’t even realize you’re working out, which is a great way to pass the time!
The best way to motivate yourself to exercise is simply to know that what you are doing is for the benefit of your mind, body and soul. You are taking time out to keep yourself in optimal condition and knowing that is a huge shift in mindset that will help you stay focused.
Katherine Stott is a South African entrepreneur with a passion for health, fitness and wellness. She runs her own content creation company, as well as a fitness portal – The Physical Evolution. She writes for a number of different local fitness brands focusing on fitness motivation, wellness companies focusing on enhancing wellbeing, and natural health brands, focusing on natural immune support and flu prevention.