Forming healthy habits is always difficult. Motivating yourself to do something challenging and stick with it seems like a Herculean task, especially when it comes to working out. Why workout, when you could do, you know, literally anything else? Of course, we all know why we should workout, and we all want to workout, at least in theory. It’s the actually getting off our butts and doing it part that’s hard. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to stay motivated and get fit.
Find a Workout Partner
Most people I know who turned their fitness habits around did so with the help of a partner. Going to the gym is just so much easier when it is a social event. Both of you are trying to improve, and you’re accountable to each other. Not only does having a workout partner give you motivation to actually go to the gym every time, it also give you someone to talk to about your workouts. They are doing all the same exercises as you, and they want to get fit just as much as you do. That kind of empathy is incredibly valuable when you’re struggling to maintain a commitment.
Write Yourself Notes
This may seem silly, but it totally works. When I’m trying to get back into working out after a break, I put sticky notes everywhere. On the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, on my computer monitor (no video games until after you workout, Caleb!) to remind me of my goals and keep me on track. You don’t have to limit yourself to sticky notes, either. Use whatever format you’re most likely to see. Some people put alerts into their phones, and others send timed emails to themselves. I have a friend who has a giant blackboard in his kitchen. He uses chalk to write fitness reminders to himself in giant letters that are impossible to ignore. Other people may give you funny looks, but whatever works for you, works for you.
When you do well and stick to your short-term goals, reward yourself! Stick to things that won’t derail your progress, but don’t be afraid to splurge. Did you do a workout every day this week? Buy yourself that pair of jeans you’ve been wanting. As long as you don’t overdo it or sabotage your own fitness goals, rewards are a great way to keep yourself on track. I might not feel like getting up and running, but the promise of binge-watching a few episodes of Orange Is The New Black is more than enough incentive to get me going.
Set Specific Goals
If you are specific about what you want to achieve, you’ll be much more likely to actually achieve it. For example, setting the goal “I want to be able to do 50 consecutive pushups” is much more effective than “I want to get stronger.” Set specific, achievable goals, and track your progress. Being able to hit those goals and check them off (achievement unlocked!) feels fantastic, and it will give you extra motivation to keep going.
Seriously. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, you’re doing the wrong workouts. Exercising should always be an enjoyable experience. Slogging through something you don’t enjoy day after day is absolutely the fastest way to burn out and lose track of your goals altogether. If you don’t like running, try swimming instead. Don’t like going to the gym? Workout outside. Some people love weight training, while others prefer yoga. Do what works for you, and make sure you’re always having fun. If you look forward to your daily workouts, you’re doing it right.