So, January has come and gone, and with it, all the promises and intent of a healthier and happier 2019. Suddenly your New Year’s resolutions are not so easy to stick to any more. The sun is rising later, which means it’s just that much more difficult to get going in the morning, your pre-breakfast job seems less appealing; the kids are back at school and already prepping for their first tests, and the deadlines at work are most likely already piling up: all of this makes getting around to exercise a little harder than it was a month or two ago.
Don’t worry, though. We had a look at how some people motivate (or trick) themselves to get up and going, even on the days they don’t really want to:
- Only wash your hair on the days that you exercise. This leaves you with three options: Go exercise and have great hair afterwards; see how long you can dry-shampoo and baby-powder yourself away from a workout, or, start a new hair trend!
- Lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before: if your workout clothes are ready, and you don’t have to procrastinate over a decision of what to where to work out, it’s one less excuse keeping you from moving!
- Put on your workout clothes anyway. Even when you don’t feel like exercising, get dressed for a workout regardless. You will feel just that little bit more motivated in your gym gear, and besides – it feels horrible to change out of gym clothes without actually having done anything.
- Keep a journal: Write down what you did for a workout every day, and how it made you feel afterwards. Then on the days when motivation is low, pull that journal out and it will serve as a reminder and motivator to feel those same good feelings again, after your next workout.
- Remember why you started: know your why. It may sound like a cliché or a catchy slogan that should be printed on a gym-shirt, but it can be a very powerful reminder. If you remember all the reasons that you got going in the first place, and you think of all the work you’ve already put in, you will soon realise that you can’t let yourself down by skipping gym. One lazy feeling does not trump weeks or months of hard work and commitment!
- Ask yourself if you will regret not working out. If you know skipping the workout will result in negative self-talk along the lines of “I should have gone, why am I so pathetic?” or “What’s wrong with me?! I couldn’t even get up!” – then pre-empt it and just GO. By asking this question and answering truthfully, you will grow and it will result in positive self-talk. If the answer is “Yes, I will regret skipping the session”, you know what you need to do. You will experience heaps of self-accomplishment and pride because you pushed through with it. If the answer is “No, I’m getting sick, and I might be making it worse by exercising”, then you know you will have to listen and respect you body’s needs. This only works if you are able to be fully, 100% honest with yourself.
- Join a class or group exercise: This serves as an opportunity to socialise and make new friends, so even when you don’t feel like working out, you go because you want to see your friends! There is also a sense of accountability when you have committed to seeing your gym-buddies.
- Get a training buddy: working out with a friend helps keep you accountable because you know that there is someone depending on you to show up. It is very important to choose the right friend to train with though, because sometimes such arrangements turn into visits, coffee, cake and catch-up sessions instead of motivating each other to get to a hard-sweating session!
- Break big challenges down in to smaller ones. Exercise is like eating an elephant – if you’re going to do it, the best way to do it is piece by piece, bite by bite. By setting micro-goals that are more readily achievable, you will experience reward instead of failure, when you exercise. Instead of expecting to run a marathon on your first day, rather aim to run 1 kilometer first, and build from there.
- Get a fan club. Surrounding yourself with the right people who will support you and cheer you on throughout your fitness journey is vital! Don’t discuss your workouts or challenges with the nay-sayers, but focus on the positive people in your life to help get the voice in your head to say the right things. It’s better to have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice in your head telling you to keep going, rather than Janice from friends in your head nagging away at you.
These are only a few methods that people (including myself) have used to stay motivated. You can give them a try, and share with me your tips and tricks for staying motivated – I would love to hear from you!