Finding the motivation to exercise is often a lot harder than the workout itself. But as Dr. Scott Rosenthal illustrated in his tongue-in-cheek article on why you shouldn’t bother exercising, sticking to a regular workout routine is essential to a long, healthy, and happy life. So how do you stay motivated on days when you just want to skip your routine? With these simple tips!
Start a journal
A bullet journal is the perfect companion for the health-conscious, and Very Well Fit details its many uses for monitoring your overall wellness
. You can start by writing your fitness goals down, whether it's something general like "get fit" or more specific like "lose 10 pounds" or "bench press 50 kilograms." This can serve as a reminder of why you started a program in the first place. You can also jot down your personal experiences, frustrations, and victories, which are all part of the journey. Use this to track your diet, reps, and your overall progress.
When using a journal to track your progress, just be careful about not putting too much pressure on yourself. If you haven't jogged in two years, and then set your goal to run 10 kilometers every morning, you'll end up feeling more demotivated! Start with small, attainable goals that you can track thrice a week, or every other day.
Play the right tunes
Finding the right music to go along with pounding pavement or pumping iron is a huge help — and it's backed by science, too. Researchers from Brunel University London found that music increases enjoyment of physical activity by 28%, compared to when you don't have any auditory stimuli. Listening to a podcast can also do the trick, but it only boosts enjoyment by around 15%. This means that listening to music can create positive associations with working out!
Design a playlist full of songs that you love and that make you want to dance! Chances are, your moves will translate to an easier and fun workout. Just make sure to download those songs before heading to the gym, as you wouldn't want them to start buffering when you're in the middle of an intense session.
Find cute exercise outfits
Sometimes, finding a cute outfit is all it takes to get hyped for a workout. Why not try putting together an ensemble that you’re excited to wear and walk around in at the gym? But don't rely on aesthetics alone, because you need to prioritize comfort, too, for a good experience. Pretty Me warns against wearing garments made of cotton, especially if you're the sweaty type and you're doing something more challenging, like HIIT. Cotton clothing will get soaked, heavy, and more uncomfortable as you attempt a workout.
Check for fabrics that are moisture-wicking, stretchy, and can provide enough coverage, especially if you’re jumping around a lot! Make sure to pick ones that you feel good in, so you can take tons of shameless selfies in between sets.
Try new activities
One of the main reasons you might be losing interest in exercise is that your routine is too monotonous. It's important to introduce variety into your program and challenge yourself with new types of activities. After all, there's always something new to try at a local gym or fitness studio, like adult ballet, yoga, or rock climbing. This is also critical for overcoming a fitness plateau.
A great way to discover what activities you may like is to simply do a quick search online. Try not to let intimidation get ahead of you, and feel free to try out several activities.
Work out with others
Working out with a trainer, a partner, or a group is one of the simplest ways to make exercise more enjoyable. NBC News reports that 95% of people who work out with friends complete their program, which just goes to show that there's a bigger likelihood for success when you get help from other people. They can provide external motivation when you just feel like giving up. It also makes you more accountable to show up to the gym when there are other people waiting for you.
If you don't have friends willing to hit the gym with you, then you can try joining fitness groups. Working out with strangers can be a fun bonding experience, and you may even end up walking away with lasting friendships!
Whether you rely on other people, a journal, devices, or yourself, the important thing is you're finding ways to keep yourself motivated. Once you get into the habit of exercising, psyching yourself up to work out will be much easier, and the results much more rewarding.
Erin Taylor is a fitness trainer and health and wellness blogger. After leaving her corporate job, she realized that working with people face to face is her true calling and helping them get healthy is what motivates her.