It’s a new year and many people are kicking off new health goals, maybe even you.
Many family and friends have commented that they want to focus on being healthier this year but enthusiasm often fizzles after a few weeks in an exercise routine. The most common concern I hear is how to stay motivated. Being healthy and working out have always been priorities and concerns for me, but even I sometimes struggle to stay motivated. Especially during Michigan’s winter when it gets dark as I’m leaving work, it’s cold and often too snowy or icy for me to walk around outside. I decided to share some tips that help me stay motivated to exercise regularly.
Find a workout friend (or friends). I usually am committed to and enjoy exercising enough to self-motivate myself but the past few years, I’ve discovered it’s nice, and even more motivating, to have a workout partner. My husband and I go to the gym sometimes together and while we don’t always use the same machines at the same time, knowing he is there also working out helps push me. I started attending Zumba classes thanks to my sister’s suggestion, and while I’ve grown to love the class regardless if she attends, I’ve also made new friends with several ladies in the class. Knowing these ladies will be there to share laughs, eye rolls, smiles and conversations makes class that much more fun and appealing. It’s good to have someone else hold you accountable to get moving, even if it’s just knowing they will be at class, the gym or waiting at trail head. I recently participated in a 30-day plank and squat challenge with a girlfriend where we texted each other after we’d completed the daily challenge – it was very motivating to know I had to send her a message every day as I didn’t want to let her down!
Schedule your workout time. One of the most common excuses for not working out is lack of time. We’re all busy, whether you work, have kids, are married, whatever. I’m as busy as the next person but staying healthy is a priority for me so I make time for it. That means I schedule exercise time on my calendar, whether Zumba class, a hike, weight training at the gym or yoga in my living room. Sometimes I’m penciling in 10 minutes of ab work in the morning, a 15-minute walk break at work and 20-minutes on my exercise bike in the evening while dinner cooks! My sister’s youngest daughter attends preschool three mornings a week so she plans to schedule workout time while school is in session.
Change up your activity and routine so you don’t get bored. I hear from many people that they don’t like working out at the gym because it gets boring. Thank goodness there are lots of ways to get exercise! I’ve mentioned Zumba classes, but I also love to hike, bike, walk, practice yoga, and more. Heck, I even sweat to Wii Dance Party and Zumba video games! Try activities that you enjoy. A few years ago I was hiking 1-2 times a week with friends. I did it as a way to get outdoors and keep in touch with friends, but a few weeks later I caught a glimpse of my noticeably slimmer and toned legs in the mirror as I walked by. I enjoyed hiking so much that I forgot I was exercising!
Reward yourself. Set a goal, whether weight loss or time commitment to working out. I once set a goal of exercising at least four times a week for eight weeks – when I accomplished that goal, I treated myself to a massage. Your rewards don’t have to be big or expensive (although feel free!). It’s just sometimes more motivating to have a fun goal.
Buy a few cute clothing items that make you feel great. This may be a total ‘girl’ thing but if you feel good about how you look, you’re more likely to feel good working out in public. Or maybe that’s just me!
Only you can make the commitment to yourself to get and stay healthy. You’re worth it so start making the commitment today.
What tips do you have to stay motivated to exercise?