There’s nothing like New Year’s resolutions to get us fired up about starting an exercise program or nailing our fittest physiques ever. But, what happens when the initial honeymoon wears off and our motivation for early a.m. gym sessions begins to wane?
That’s when it’s time to dig deep and summon our inner health warriors. Consistency is key to seeing results, so consider these five ideas for keeping motivation going strong this year.
- Re-visit goals regularly. Creating goals is a no-brainer when we’re just getting into a new workout schedule or healthier way of eating, however; we can keep our motivation fresh by revisiting those goals frequently. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, “… identifying specific results will help you stick with [your workout program.]” This includes both short- and long-term goals.
Make a point to check in with yourself on a weekly basis to assess whether you’re still on track. Are you a visual person? Create a Pinterest board with images. Visualize in your mind how you want to feel. Write down your goals, tape them to your bathroom mirror. Whatever you do, ensure that you visit them regularly.
- Work out with a partner. A study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine shows that motivation to work harder increases with a partner. Plus, performance more than doubles when we are pushed by someone else … as opposed to working out solo.
Often, just showing up for a workout is our toughest obstacle. If there’s someone else waiting for us at the gym or for an early a.m. run, we’re less likely to bail. Find a reliable friend who’ll hold you accountable, and also seek out someone whose fitness level matches (or exceeds) your own. Or work with a personal trainer who can offer a customized approach to working out.
- Use technology wisely. Yup, we’re talking social media and smart phones here. The October 2016 findings for a study from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that healthy competition in an online social network forum motivated people to exercise more than just friendly support. Competition drove participants to do the most exercise every week because it created an aspirational mindset.
The takeaway? If you’re in need of motivation mojo, hit up your Facebook groups or Instagram, and get some friendly competition started. Or utilize the health apps on your smart phone to create competition with yourself. Track your daily steps or walking distance and see if you can beat them.
- Re-think your “why.” Many of us launch an exercise program to look better naked or fit into those skinny jeans. It’s totally normal. Those are called extrinsic factors. And while they might get us off our couches initially, this study explains that that kind of motivation can be short-lived. Intrinsic factors – like enjoying exercise or aiming to better our health – contribute more to adhering to a program in the long-term.
One proven way to increase your intrinsic motivation is to learn more about the benefits of your particular exercise or nutrition protocol. A personal trainer can be a great resource, teaching you how your plan can contribute to better health.
- Have a blast! It goes without saying here, but we will always engage more with an activity that’s pleasurable. Dreading that afternoon spin class? Grab your bike and head outdoors. By doing something that’s fun, you’re more likely to stick with it in the long run. Besides, happiness is a major factor to our overall wellness.