Hey, hows it going? With the holidays and some time off this week, I feel like I keep losing track of the days. I have about a million and one projects I am trying to get done while I am off of work and keep panicking thinking it is already Friday and I am not half as far as I thought I would be. Needless to say, I was pleased to realize when I set down to write this post that it was only Wednesday night. I am hoping today and tomorrow can be fun and productive days.
I have heard a few jokes around the gym recently about how crowded it will be for the month of January and it got me thinking about ongoing fitness motivation and making those resolutions stick. I thought I would share a few things that help me keep my fitness motivation throughout the year. While I definitely have areas I would like to improve on, overall I am a very goal-oriented person and am pretty good at sticking to goals. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your fitness goals in the new year.
- Ease into it. If you are not currently active, intense workouts six days a week is a recipe for burnout, or potentially an injury. Start with more moderate exercise, about 3-5 days a week. You can always add-on as your strength and endurance grows.
- Remember that everyone starts somewhere. I was in a yoga class not too long ago, trying fruitlessly to kick myself up into an unassisted handstand and wondering how the lady next to me made it look so easy. When the teacher read my mind and started talking about how those people with the effortless handstand got there by trying and trying and trying and growing in their practice. Don’t give up, and don’t feel down if you can’t do what the lady next to you can, there was probably a time she couldn’t nail that handstand either.
- Set measurable goals. “I will workout more” is pretty subjective. But I will workout 3 times a week, or I will run 12 miles a week are measurable goals.
- Don’t let a bad day, week, month derail you. So work got busy and you missed a week of workouts, so what? Just pick back up where you left off. Life happens, but that doesn’t mean the work you have already put in doesn’t count and it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals.
- Pick activities you like. I think about this at Orangetheory every time we are entering a higher intensity portion of the class and an instructor says something about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you are doing something that pushes you, it can be uncomfortable. If you hate the activity, to begin with, it’s going to be a tough sell to keep at it long-term, even if the results are good. Pick an activity you like so the uncomfortable parts can be a fun challenge, rather than something that causes you to lose your motivation.
- Check-in with yourself. When I set long-term goals, I will generally set check-in times to see how I am doing and reassess my approach. For example, for my annual goals, I plan check-in points at 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months to see how I am doing. I find that this helps me stay on track, or gives me an opportunity to re-motivate myself if I have gotten off course. So for example, if you had planned to go running 3 times a week, but at 3 months you haven’t been in a month, it is time to reassess and/or re-motivate. Are you not really liking running? If so, maybe try a new fitness activity, so that you are still getting the activity in with something you like. Or if you love your runs, but have trouble getting motivated to go, maybe it is time to find a motivator. Having a friend to workout with, a group or class that I have committed to, or even a podcast I am dying to listen to are all good motivators for me when I am having a hard time getting out the door for my workout.
- Reward yourself. Acknowledge and reward the work you put into achieving your goals. Maybe its a massage after sticking to your fitness routine for 3 months. Or a cool new water bottle that fits perfectly in the bottle holder at spin class. Maybe it’s a nice hot bath when you are feeling a little achy after a workout. Maybe it’s acknowledging that your body needs a day of rest from time to time and letting yourself sleep in a little. Choose a reward that you will look forward to and that fits your budget and lifestyle.
So friends, what are some of your fitness (or life) goals for next year? How do you stay motivated?
Hope you have a great day!