When you are starting an exercise program, it is important to be mentally prepared, start with a positive attitude, and define clear-cut goals. Without a game plan to keep you motivated, you will feel overwhelmed and want to give up, before you even break a sweat! Motivation in fitness is the key to perseverance and staying motivated is one of the largest hurdles that people face when it comes to sticking to an exercise program, especially in the beginning. People find excuses in their busy lives to put off or postpone working out.
Here are some easy tactics to keep you inspired and on track with your fitness regimen:
- Change your thinking and look at exercise as a personal responsibility towards yourself and as an example to others in your life.
- Find inspiration in others and read as much as you can about the benefits of exercise. Learning and discovering about the advantages of exercising and living a healthy lifestyle will reinforce your motivation.
- Always keep a gym bag, packed and ready, in your car. The excuse that you don’t have your gear goes out the window and it will serve as a reminder to hit the gym!
- Set a goal, whether it’s a 5K looming in bold letters on the calendar or fitting into a new bikini in time for your beach vacation. Making a realistic goal with enough time to meet the milestones that help you progress towards it, will create a ripple effect that will allow you to adapt your life around meeting that goal and fuel your motivation!
- Schedule a regular workout time. Take a hard look at your weekly schedule and build in an hour a day on as many days as you can. Don’t wait for a spontaneous vague window of time to present itself, after every other responsibility has been met. Last-minute interferences will most certainly get in the way. But if you adjust your schedule around a pre-determined workout time, you are much more likely to follow through, just like any other important appointment you have to keep. Consider even using daily email reminders, workout journaling websites, or apps to keep you on task.
- Find a fitness partner to hold you accountable, by planning scheduled workouts together. It’s easy to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock, when it’s just you, but much harder when you are keeping your partner waiting. The mutual support can be far more effective in helping both of you stay in shape and maintain healthy eating and exercise routines. Consider starting a fitness journal. Even if you haven’t started exercising yet, start recording your current weight and measurements, fitness goals, and your plan of action for achieving them. Physically writing your goals is a great way to accomplish them.
- Use variety to stay interested and have fun. Design your exercise routine to incorporate different types of activities that stimulate you and may not even feel like exercise. Dancing, playing sports with family and friends, toning and sculpting classes, rock climbing, weight training, hiking, the list is endless! Consider exercises that maximize benefits, like yoga, which works as mental therapy and physical activity. Workout variety also challenges your body in unique ways and work on different muscle groups.When starting an exercise routine, it is important to stay focused and motivated. Adopting the perspective that exercise is not a quick fix but a permanent lifestyle change can help you stick with it for the long run. Start out slow and gradually work towards your goals, and constantly reassess your goals so you can continue to grow and achieve new personal records for yourself!