Editor’s Note: This is a Guest Post by Helen
At the beginning of your exercise program, you are full of excitement and determination; however, you will eventually find that your excitement may begin to fade after a few weeks. What started as something you were sure was going to change your life, suddenly begins to make your life a nightmare. Why is there such a ‘love it and hate it’ attitude towards exercise? Some say that they find their exercise routines extremely boring, while only a select few see instant gratification when it is a matter of weight loss. So, for those who still find their daily workouts boring, today’s blog post will share some tips on how to stay motivated and stick to your exercise routines.
Health professionals often motivate people to exercise by promoting the many benefits of a consistent and regular fitness routine. You need to find that specific incentive that will make you a consistent member of your gym.
1) Set realistic goals
If you have set goals that are too high and too tough to reach, you are only setting yourself up to be disappointed. If you fail to achieve those unrealistic goals, you will gradually become demotivated.
As you plan your exercise program, keep it simple initially and gradually work your way towards any of your bigger goals. You can start with something as simple as “I will workout three times a week” or “I will devote 30 minutes a day to my workout program in the first month.” You can gradually add more time and intensity to successfully reach your goal.
2) Change your perception
Start thinking like an athlete and focus on the positives. If you focus on things you love about your workout, it is going to get your enthusiasm flowing. You may only find a few things to love about your exercise routine initially, but over time, you will discover more and more.
If you don’t like your exercise routine, change it and make it more interesting. Keep trying new exercise routines until you find something you enjoy. My exercise schedule included cardio on Monday, weight training on Wednesday and kickboxing on Friday. Whenever you find yourself getting bored with one particular exercise, replace it immediately with something else you enjoy and go back to it again once you are ready.
3) Seek support from motivated people
The world is full of people that want you to fail. These groups consist mostly of people who are unhappy and insecure in their life. They make it harder for you to succeed. So why not surround yourself with those who support you and want you to stick with your exercise program?
Another way to get motivational support is to read magazines, blogs and newspapers to keep yourself educated and inspired. You can also choose a role model who has the perfect body that you would love to have. A person who shows dedication in the way they live their life.
4) Make exercise more fun
Find a friend to be your workout partner. They make it much harder for you to skip your exercise routines. They can encourage and motivate you when you do not feel like exercising and vice versa. If it is difficult to find a gym partner, hire a personal trainer who can provide that extra push.
You could also consider joining an online community or a social networking group of fitness and nutrition experts and make the utmost use of their suggestions and advice. People who receive this kind of online expert support are proven to lose three times more weight than people going at it alone.
You should never hesitate to offer yourself rewards, even for the smallest achievements. If you successfully achieve your goal of exercising three times a week, treat yourself with a movie. However, do not reward yourself with junk food when your goal is to lose weight, you could end up causing yourself more harm than good.
5) Keep your exercise gear within your reach
Don’t put away your gear. I have my dumbbells in the bathroom, and my yoga mat and balancing ball strategically placed throughout the house. So, for me forgetting to exercise is never a problem. That is why visual cues are a wake up call to the brain. Choose a prime location that you will never miss. Pick places where you spend a lot of your time and can use the equipment to workout, especially on those days when you do not feel like going to the gym.
To add to the motivation level, reward yourself with a new exercise outfit for working out 5 days a week consistently for 3 months. Trust me – you will look great in your new gear.
6) Track your progress
Instead of thinking how far you have to go, think about how far you have come. If you treat exercise like any other type of hard work, you will never enjoy it. Do not look at it as a chore you have to do. Never allow yourself to develop a negative attitude towards exercise, or you will be more likely to quit your fitness routine. Many health experts say, ‘Start thinking of yourself as someone who exercises regularly. Eventually, that will become your identity.”
According to Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and fitness instructor at Stanford, the trick to exercising regularly isn’t finding your inner enforcer; rather it’s finding your creative mind and tapping into your natural motivations.
What do you do to stay motivated? Let us know in the comments below.