It's that time of year again. People, maybe even you, make fitness resolutions for the new year and abandon them before the calendar turns to February. You know that regular workouts help reduce stress, control weight, and lower your risk of many serious diseases. Despite this, finding and keeping the motivation to exercise consistently remains challenging.
Like many people, you probably felt excited about working out in the beginning. After a while, however, you start to feel bored or tell yourself that exercising is too physically uncomfortable. When these thoughts come to your mind often enough, you make excuses to skip your workout. The good news is that you can challenge your beliefs about exercise and keep the motivation going throughout the new year and beyond.
Reward Your Efforts
Would you bother to set the alarm, get ready to go to work each day, and put off doing other things you would prefer to do if you didn't receive the reward of a paycheck? Unless you're independently wealthy and just working for fun, the answer is no. You can incorporate this same reward strategy into your workout routine by rewarding yourself for both large and small goals. If you're trying to lose weight, just make sure to avoid food as a reward.
As an example, choose an inexpensive item you have had your eye on and make it a reward for reaching goals like walking 10,000 steps a day for a week. When you achieve more specific targets, such as challenging yourself to a more difficult workout routine, reward yourself with something like a weekend getaway or trip to the spa. You might want to avoid setting up your reward system based on weight loss alone since you can't always control how fast your body drops the pounds.
Ask Others to Support You and Hold You Accountable
When you tell people close to you that you have decided to start exercising regularly and improve your diet, then ask for their support in whatever way you need it. You could ask your spouse to avoid bringing fast food into the house or request that your best friend check in with you weekly for accountability. Online support forums are helpful as well since many people have the same goals. A place to vent when you're frustrated or sign up for a contest when you need extra motivation can be invaluable.
Change Your Routine Regularly to Prevent Boredom
Boredom with the same old routine is a primary reason that people give up on exercising. You can stay ahead of this problem by changing the exercises you focus on periodically. Perhaps you can focus on strength training for two weeks and then aerobics for the next two. No matter what you choose, change it often enough that you don't lose interest and give up on working out altogether.
You can also benefit from the expertise of a personal trainer. These trained professionals help people select specific exercises and workout routines. They also provide a healthy dose of motivation and accountability. People who successfully lose weight and keep it off state the accountability factor as the main reason for sticking with it when things got tough. It can be the same way for you.