Even the most dedicated and resolute of us can fall off the fitness wagon in a moment of weakness. Any number of things can cause us to lose our dedication to bettering our bodies, but the important thing is that we pick ourselves up and get back on track. Here are 15 ways to jump start the process:
1. Pick A Date To Start
Oftentimes it is hard to start new healthy habits because you’re just not in the right frame of mind. One good way to overcome this is to pick a date you’ll start your new habit, and mark it on your calendar. That way, you can mentally prepare yourself for the change. When the day comes, you’ll be ready and eager.
2. Start One New Habit At A Time
We can sabotage our own efforts by trying to do too many things at once. Habits are difficult to form, so it’s always better to build them one at a time. Choose one healthy habit, like running in the mornings or giving up sugary drinks, and stick to it until it becomes natural. When you no longer have to think about it, move on to the next habit.
3. Find A Workout Partner
It’s always easier to stay committed when you have a partner counting on you. Find someone with similar workout goals, and make a plan to work out with them several times a week. Ask them to check in on you regularly and ask you about your progress.
4. Do Something You Like
Working out should be fun. If you stopped exercising because you weren’t enjoying it, you might be doing the wrong exercise. Try something else to get yourself excited about working out. Joining an intramural sports team or taking up a new hobby like swimming or hiking could be just what you need to spark your enthusiasm.
5. Commit For 30 Days
If you can do something for 30 days, it will become a habit. Make working out a top priority every day for 30 days, and before you know it, it will be second nature.
6. Small Steps
If you’ve been out of the game for a while, don’t immediately jump back up to the level you were at before. Instead of trying to run 6 miles every day right off the bat, try running 2 or 3 miles and slowly working your way back up. Setting manageable goals will help prevent you from giving up again.
7. Find a Reason To Get Fit
Why do you want to improve your health? Really think about it, and figure out exactly what your motivations are. Choose something more specific than “I just want to lose weight.” Maybe you want to go down a size in jeans, or be able to play with your kids. Having a motivation is important to keeping you going.
8. Rearrange Your Space
Try organizing your living space so that you are constantly reminded of the new habit you’re trying to form. If you want to run more, leave your running outfit and shoes next to your bed so they are easy to pull on in the morning and head out the door. If you want to practice yoga every day, leave your yoga mat out in the middle of the floor where it’s impossible to miss. Once you get into a good habit, you can go back to putting it in a more reasonable place.
9. Delete Your Detractors
What is holding you back from your fitness goals? Figure out what it is you’re doing instead of getting healthier, and eliminate it from your routine. Do you spend too much time playing video games? Try going one week without playing. You get the idea.
10. Remind Yourself
Figure out a way to give yourself daily reminders to work out. Set alarms on your phone, so you’ll always be notified an hour or so before it’s time to hit the gym. Do whatever it takes to get yourself to keep thinking about it. When I’m trying to develop a new habit, sometimes I will write it on a sticky note and put it on my bathroom mirror. That way, every time I look in the mirror, I think about what I need to do.
11. Reward Yourself
Tell yourself that if you show up to the gym today, you’ll get a reward. That reward can be anything from watching an episode of your favorite show, to splurging on a new outfit. If you don’t accomplish your goal, don’t give yourself the reward.
12. Find Fitness Friends
If the people you hang out with don’t care about being healthy, it may be time to find some new friends. That doesn’t mean you have to stop hanging out with your old friends, but finding a community of people who support your lifestyle is invaluable when it comes to getting in shape. You can find fitness communities at your local gym, or online.
13. Eat Better
When you have a poor diet, you feel terrible. No one wants to work out when they feel bloated and lethargic. Change what you eat and adopt a healthier meal plan so you feel better every day, and you’ll be more likely to want to work out.
14. Drink Water
Staying hydrated is even more important than eating right. When you are dehydrated, you are sluggish and weak. Keep drinking water throughout the day to keep your energy levels and enthusiasm up.
15. Stay On Target
Stay resolute in your goals. Once you’ve developed a new healthy habit, stick with it. Building a new habit is so much harder than breaking an old one, so make sure your effort was worth it. You’ll be happy you did.