One of the biggest barriers to starting an exercise routine or to keep going is lack of motivation. Even if you know that you need to exercise more, and you want to enjoy the benefits exercise brings, it can be hard to get up, get dressed and get moving. We all need a little push sometimes.
If life is tough for you right now, working out will give you a boost. Multiple studies have shown that exercise can relieve stress and help to combat anxiety and depression. If you’re depressed, the last thing in the world you probably want to do is exercise, but as much as you may want to lay in bed all day, muster all the motivation you can and get up. Starting is the hardest part.
1. First things first; you need to take the time to think about what will snap you into action or to find the real reason why you want to exercise. Find YOUR motivation – what is the one thing that will get you moving? Most people do it to stay healthy, to help lose weight, to be able to keep up with the grandkids or maybe it is just to get a bit of “me time”. Be specific and honest with yourself, remember how you feel, it will help you in the long run.
2. You absolutely hate running, thankfully running isn’t the only way to exercise. There are heaps of different ways to get in shape; from low intensity Yoga to High Intensity time efficient workouts, to dance class workouts, swimming or functional body weighted exercise classes.
3. It takes 21 days to form a habit and 3 months to create a lifestyle change - so stick with it. Make regular time and plan when you exercise and stick to it. Use a chart and keep it visible or track your workouts using a tracking app like Strava, HabitBull or Myzone with built in challenges, rewards and sociability.
4. Next, set your goal of what you want to achieve and by when. Set small achievable goals along your journey so you can monitor your progress and see results. Be realistic, many people set goals that are unrealistic and immediately fail.
5. When you reach your little milestones, give yourself a reward that you really want. If you love massage, get one when you do X number of workouts in a month.
6. It can be really helpful to share your journey with others who will help you stay on track and make you accountable. Make sure they are tough on you if you have a weak excuse.
7. Exercise with someone else. We are naturally more motivated to work out with a friend so we do not let them down as well as ourselves.
8. Exercise in group classes. Training in a group/ team environment spurs us on to turn up and work harder. The instructor will guide you through the routine and adds motivation to keep you going. It changes regularly so you won’t get bored of doing the same thing over and over. It’s also a great place to meet like-minded people at all stages along their fitness journey. Remember everyone had to start once.
9. Sit down with a personal trainer and have an in-depth conversation about your goals and they will tailor everything you do specifically for your fitness goals. They will also help keep you accountable and dig into your eating habits. There are a lot of different types of personal trainers out there, just make sure it’s the right one for you.
The truth is that, no matter how determined you are and how well you plan your days, life can sometimes get in the way. Rain may stop play, an injury may force you to skip the gym, or a family crisis might mean that exercise is the last thing you want to do. These are all valid reasons to skip a workout, but none should stop you entirely.