Have you ever had a tough time motivating yourself to exercise at the gym or participate in another activity? I know I have. Things happen, you get tired, you say “maybe tomorrow,” or you find some way to talk yourself out of it.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that when it comes to fitness, it’s often the first thing people cut from their schedules when life gets busy. Sure, it’s easy to miss a session or two. But soon enough, those sessions turn into weeks and months. And that becomes the biggest factor for a successful workout routine: motivation.
Keeping Motivated Key to Workout Success
A few years ago, I was training with my friend who was preparing for a bodybuilding competition. Every day, for 16 weeks straight, we were in the gym lifting weights or doing cardio. It would get tough, but it was my job to keep him focused and motivated to reach his goals.
Whether you’re getting ready to step on stage, stay in shape, or just lose some weight, motivation plays a major role in the success of your workout program. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or someone who simply works out for recreation: if you’re not motivated, you won’t reach your goals.
And motivation can be easy to lose. A good friend of mine has managed gyms for a living, and she once told me that less than a handful of new signups ever return more than a few times.
4 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise
So how can you stay motivated? Here are a few tips that can help you stay committed to your fitness routine—whether it’s exercising at the gym or aiming to live a healthier lifestyle:
1. Know Why You’re Doing It
If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it’s very hard to commit. Perhaps you want to increase your stamina and mobility to play with your grandchildren. Maybe you want to lose some weight before a vacation, or perhaps it will aid in your battle against a chronic condition. Whatever your reason, knowing it—and reminding yourself of it—will make sticking to your workout program much easier.
2. Commit to Someone Else
If your reasons for working out are purely for self-improvement, it can be easy to fall off pace—after all, you’re only letting yourself down, right? For this reason, it can be beneficial to commit to working out with a partner, to express your goals to a loved one, or to have a specific goal in mind with another person, like participating in a charity run with your grandchild. By committing to another person, it puts you on the hook; you hold yourself accountable for more than just personal improvement. For this reason, working out becomes more about maintaining relationships and commitments to others. Eventually, it will have to be for yourself, but having someone to help you get over that initial hump can be beneficial to getting to that next step.
3. Ask a Professional
Whether you’re new at the gym, starting to run, or doing some other activity, knowledge is essential to success. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to stay away. Your confidence drops and intimidation skyrockets. Talk to a gym employee or someone with real experience, like a personal trainer, about how to properly exercise to meet your goals. When you know what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to stick with it. Alternatively, you can consider taking some classes to get the basics down.
4. Have Incremental Goals
Short-term goals are the foundation of success. Start small—perhaps your first goal is to get to the gym to exercise twice a week for 30 minutes. Then it’s three times a week, and so on and so forth. Once there, maybe it’s to lose one pound a week, or to increase your strength by five percent in a month. Setting weekly goals will keep you coming back until you’re accomplishing things you never thought possible.
At the end of the day, you’re ultimately in control of your health. It takes just as much time for a good workout as it does to watch an episode of your favorite television program. Set yourself up for success by knowing how and why a healthy lifestyle is something you want and follow through with these tips to achieve your goals.