For most of us it’s pretty easy to come up with a list of goals. It can be fun to sit down and dream about crossing the finish line of your first marathon or fitting into the ‘skinny’ clothes in your closet. Without a plan, though, it’s just that- a dream or a wish. Shelly wrote a great post on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, not vague hopes and dreams, but specific goals. Goals need a deadline, otherwise they’re really just a wish. For some of us, that’s the easy part, sitting down and getting excited about the details, but for many of us that’s where the enthusiasm starts to fizzle.
Getting motivated and staying motivated are two different things. I’m constantly on the hunt for motivation, whether it’s with inspiring quotes or weight loss stories. I’m always looking to be inspired. Achieving goals takes time, effort and discipline. There will be setbacks, of course, but we must constantly look ahead and do our best to stay on track. I’ve included my six favorite ways to motivate myself to work out, even when it’s the last thing I want to do.
- Buy a New Outfit. I learned this from a running friend years ago. Go get something fun to work out in. If you are excited to wear new gear, you’re more likely to get out and move in it. Not only are you more likely to exercise if you have something you feel confident wearing, you’re more likely to make healthy choices at the same time. A doughnut doesn’t tempt me when I’m sporting a form fitting hoodie or leggings
- Keep a Fitness Journal. Take notes after a great workout to reflect on later. I also note sucky workout days in my journal, not only to keep it real, but to remind myself that the bad times pass and a strong workout is next. I write inspirational quotes, tape articles that touch me and pretty much anything that relates to my life. It’s fun to look back and reflect and, when I need a ‘pick me up’ or a dose of motivation, I go thumb through my journal. Mine appears well loved and many would say it looks like it belongs in the recycle bin instead of next to my bed, but my fitness journal keeps me energized to live healthy.
- Make a Date! I cannot tell you how many times this has helped me keep workouts a priority. If I’m meeting my brother for a run or attending a class with a friend, I’m less likely to bail. There’s something about having it on the calendar and the little bit of peer pressure that just makes it happen. It’s harder to cancel when you know someone is waiting for you. Plus, it’s more fun than working out alone.
- Don’t Give Yourself an Out. Don’t feel bad modifying your workout, but don’t allow yourself to cancel if you’re not in the mood. When I’m dragging and not feeling it, I’ll tell myself that I only have to go for a mile or I only have to do 25 push-ups at the gym. I can only think of one time that I’ve actually followed through, the rest of the times I got a full workout in. Usually the hardest part is just getting out the door for a run or getting through the door of the club and sometimes it takes little tricks to get there.
- Spend Some Money. We all want to save money, so if you’re spending your hard earned cash on a trainer or fancy studio, you’re more likely to utilize them. If you don’t, you’re wasting money and no one likes that. Our health is priceless so this is an area we can afford to splurge a little and don’t let it go to waste.
- Find Friends Who Make You Better. I get to run a lot because I have friends who will run with me. I like to go to the gym because it feels like family there. When you make friends with people who have similar goals, you get to challenge each other. Befriend someone out of your league; a faster and fitter friend will most definitely get you to push harder. I love friends who consider ‘happy hour’ our time at the gym because it helps get me there. I appreciate people who are faster and stronger than me because they give me something to aspire to. Always have friends who take you out of your comfort zone, that’s how we grow.
Motivation is a tough thing, it comes and goes for all of us. Nike has the “Just Do It” slogan for a reason, we can’t always wait around for motivation to come to us. Discipline has to kick in, at times, when we lack the drive. But search out and find things that help motivate you or get you excited to work out and live healthy and then use them.