Let’s face it. For most of us, fitness comes in waves. We’ll start a new diet, or discover a new exercise class, stick with it for a month or two, and then let it fade away. If you just joined the gym in January, then by this end of the month working out becomes more of a hassle than a routine. But there are ways to stick with it.
Try these seven tips to keep yourself motivated.
1. Set a clear goal.
Instead of setting a vague goal like getting to the gym more, say you’ll go to the gym three times a week. Don’t just say you want to feel healthier — decide how you will get there. It’s easier to stick to a goal when you have a clear goal to stick to. Even try setting long and short term goals for the best results.
2. Track it.
What’s a workout goal without accountability? Use a fitness app or pedometer to make tracking your health goals a daily competition with yourself. Better yet, buy a calendar and mark each day you work out — whether at the gym or at home — with a check mark. When you see how far you’ve come, you won’t want to give up.
3. Find a buddy.
Speaking of accountability, nobody keeps you on track like a good workout buddy. After all, if they can do it, you can do it. See if a roommate or coworker wants to join you for a morning spinning class, or make a pact to catch up with an old friend every week with a walk around the park. It makes it very tough to cancel if you’re letting down a friend at the same time.
4. Form a habit.
It takes 21 days to form a habit. Why not set a goal of forming a different health-related habit each month? In February, do a 30-second plank for 30 days. In March, try doing a short ab workout every day. Work on your push-up form in April. Not only will this method help you form healthy habits, but it lets you explore different exercises to find what you like.
5. Mix it up.
Thirty minutes of running or walking on the treadmill is not for everyone. Change up your workout by trying a dance or cycling class. Or, run for 5 minutes, then do a set of squats and a set of bicep curls, and run again. Running in intervals is actually better for you anyway, and the added strength training will burn more fat in the long run than cardio alone.
6. Look for deals.
Make sure you’re asking about discounts and incentives on your quest to wellness. Look for a gym or workout class that offers great deals for new members, or see if your health insurance or employer offers any extra incentives for staying healthy.
7. Take baby steps.
You can’t run a marathon without training first. Stick to your routine, and challenge yourself a little more with every workout. If you start out doing just 20 bicep curls, try doing 25 the next day. Bump up your treadmill speed on your mile run by .01 each day. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to see, and more importantly, feel the results of your hard work.
Try not to get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Just like cleaning a messy room, it might feel like its getting worse before it gets better. Bottom line? Don’t give up.