I just figured I’d post some of my tips when it comes to keeping yourself motivated. I always seem to work out in periods, and whenever I break my own “rules” my motivation drops, and I start skipping workouts. And I bet I’m not the only one with this problem! Feel free to share how you keep yourself motivated, and maybe I’ll add some of your tips to my list.
- Find someone to work out with. That way you can keep each other motivated on days where one of you would rather stay at home in front of the tv. For me it really helps to go running with Andy, especially since he is in a much better shape than me and this gives me motivation to try to beat him sometime.
- Set goals. Not only your final goal (like how much weight you want to lose – if this is why you’re working out), but also daily and weekly goals. I am not a great runner, so one of my previous goals was very simple: to run the same distance that I ran the day before, but this time I was going to do it without a break halfway through – and I made it! I love trying to beat myself, and having beaten my goal made me feel like I achieved something.
- Find a workout that works for you! It doesn’t matter if you enjoy running, spinning, dancing, yoga, strength exercises, or using the elliptical (like me). Just make sure you pick something that you enjoy, and try to mix it up every now and then. I have an elliptical at home, but I also have Wii fit and Wii Zumba. I like using my Wii fit board while I’m watching my favorite series, or dancing along to the Zumba routines on a day I have some extra energy (although I think going to Zumba classes with a friend is a lot more fun).
- Bring good music – especially if you’re working out by your self. This will keep your tempo up and it will help keep your mind off what you are doing. For me this makes me feel less tired.
- Set a weekly minimum limit to workouts. So if you have decided to get at least three work-outs in every week, then you have no excuses for not doing it. If it’s Sunday night and you have only exercised twice so far then you should force yourself to get at least a small amount of work done. Like a 30 minute fast walk around the neighborhood.
- Reward yourself. This doesn’t have to be with food (if you’re trying to lose weight), it will just as easily work with other things. You could decide to not buy those pants you’ve been wanting until you manage to beat your own record. Or you could schedule a girls night out as soon as you’ve stuck to your work out program for a whole month. (Just don’t reward yourself by skipping workouts.)
- Keep a workout journal. I’ve done this for the past few months. Just buy a notebook where you write down which exercises you’ve done every week (including repetitions or duration). I love comparing my current week to the previous one to see if I’m making any progress. Sometimes I’ll add an extra workout if I see that I did better the past week.
- Buy new workout clothes! I don’t know if this works for everyone, but it definitely does for me. A colorful, new outfit makes me want to try it out. And the same goes for buying workout magazines with tips for exercises. But, of curse, you should limit this to once in a while so that you don’t end up shopping more than you work out. (Although a full day of shopping really should be considered a workout…)
At the beginning of 2012 I finally decided to get back into shape after several years of doing nothing but studying. After most of my workouts I felt completely exhausted and ready to pass out – but it was worth it! And, after a while, I could tell that things were getting slightly easier every day. I still haven’t reached my goal, but I’m much happier than I was before I started.