Lets be real, we’ve all been there. You get an impulse that you want to start exercising, start your membership, get some new gym clothes and for the first few weeks you are unstoppable. But then life happens with work deadlines and family obligations, exercise starts to slip down your priority list. So, how can you stay motivated to exercise consistently? Let’s dig into some strategies that have helped countless people maintain their motivation so that exercise becomes a habit.
WHAT’S YOUR WHY?
Your motivation to exercise should be deeply personal. This is about more than just feeling good on the beach for your holiday, really think about why. It could be your self confidence, it could be to help reduce stress and anxiety, or could be to manage a health condition, we all have a deep reason why we start our exercise journey that inks to health and happiness. Whatever the reason, make it a point to remind yourself of your ‘why’ regularly. This can act as a powerful motivator on the days you feel like skipping your workout.
SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS
Setting achievable, specific, and measurable goals is vital. Instead of a vague objective like “I want to get fit,” aim for something more concrete, such as “I want to be able to run 5k in 30 minutes by the end of the year.” Having well defined goals allows you to track your progress and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you achieve them.
CREATE A ROUTINE
One of the best ways to make exercise a habit is by integrating it into your daily routine. Plan your workouts around the same time every day, whether that’s first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work. This will help you make a mental association between that time and exercise, eventually turning it into a habit you can stick to.
MAKE IT ENJOYABLE
Nobody has ever said “I’m not doing that again as it was too much fun”. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you genuinely enjoy. At the start it feels like hard work, but as you get into the habit, it just becomes something that you do and enjoy. To keep it challenging and new try different types of workouts until you find what resonates with you. Whether it’s yoga, cycling, swimming, or running, the more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to continue doing it.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to rely on your willpower alone. Having a friend to workout with will help to make you more accountable as it is something that you do together, and it feels harder to cancel a session or skip a workout as you will be letting someone else down. Sharing your goals with someone else adds a layer of accountability that can inspire you to stick to your routine.
MEASURE AND CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS
Don’t just rely on the scales to track your progress, it doesn’t always provide the full picture. Take body measurements, notice how your clothes fit, or monitor your stamina and strength levels. Use measurements that fit your goals. Celebrate every small win, like being able to run a mile without stopping or lifting a heavier weight. Acknowledging these successes will boost your motivation and keep you focused on your larger goals.
Life is unpredictable, so having a really firm and locked down routine doesn’t always work. There will be days when you won’t have time for a full workout session, and that’s okay, even 15 minutes is better than none. The key is to stay committed and not to let minor setbacks derail your fitness journey.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Motivation ebbs and flows, and it’s natural to experience lows along with the highs. If you miss a workout, just forget it and move on, it will happen from time to time. Criticising yourself will just demotivate you.