Ask thirty people what the hardest thing about working out is, and you won’t hear anything about a 300lb bench press, monster deadlift, or a tractor tire flip. What you are going to hear every time is something about motivation: How hard it is to actually get to the gym. How hard it is to get started. How hard it is to stay on track. All these things have nothing to do with muscle failure or your physical ability to exercise, they have everything to do with your mindset. Just like working on your muscles to strengthen them, here are a few tips for working on your motivation to strengthen your resolve:
Work on your attitude
Your attitude can strengthen or weaken your enthusiasm. Your mental approach to exercising has a strong influence on your decision to work out or rest on any given day. Think about the benefits of keeping fit and try to visualize that amazing feeling of when you are done with your workout. That feeling of accomplishment, of happy exhaustion, of feeling like you can take on any challenge. People who entertain negative thoughts about working out give up; pessimism dampens their enthusiasm. Banish negative thinking to keep your motivation high. Keep your mind focused on the positive outcome, and you will have a much better chance for success.
Make fitness easy
If you need to travel a long way to your gym or exercise class, your motivation will decrease. Getting back in your car once you have already come home is an additional obstacle to getting there. So many extra potential excuses! What about my parking spot? My car is in the shop! On and on it goes. Work out close to home, a place you can walk to or at least ride your bike to, and it will be much easier to stay on track. Select workouts to suit your fitness level. If your workout is too tough, you’ll drop it quickly. Risk of injury and feeling of defeat can be a barrier to sticking with a program. If you are a beginner, start at an easy level and follow a steady pace. Get advice from a professional Personal Trainer to set up workouts that are challenging for your level, but easily scalable for when you get stronger.
Set a (realistic) goal
Just wanting to be healthy may not prevent your enthusiasm from failing. Have an exact goal in mind. Think carefully about what you want to achieve. Maybe you have a reunion coming up and you want to drop 15lbs, maybe your bucket list includes a half marathon, maybe you have been eying that HiiT class in the gym that looks so fun but you are not able to complete it yet. Keep your goal specific, simple, and at the top of your mind when contemplating whether or not to skip your next workout.
Work out with a friend
Your exercise buddy will encourage you to work out when your motivation wanes. Exercising can be a social experience, even fun, when you have someone to cheer you on (and share your pain!). Working out alone means you may easily drop your fitness plans because no one will question your decision. Making a social event of it will inspire you to stay on track.
Repetitive tasks can be monotonous, or you can make them fun by adding rhythm. If your workout includes movements you repeat, develop a beat to go with them. The pace of your movements can respond to a beat you listen to, like music. Maybe you love reggae, classic rock, rap or even easy listening- it all has a beat. Take time to discover music that makes you happy and boosts you up. Ask friends for recommendations and look online. Time will fly when you exercise to your own private rhythm. You might find yourself concentrating on the beat instead of physical strain.