If sticking to a regular exercise regime was easy then everyone would be doing it. Whether your barriers are a lack of time, not enjoying exercise, a lack of confidence in the gym, family commitments or a busy social life we all have days or weeks where the last thing we want to do is make time for exercise. But we know it’s important that we make time to do it and that once we’ve worked up a sweat we feel great (most of the time any ways). So what can you do to make sure you’re motivated and less likely to talk your way out of getting sweaty?
1. Sign up for a challenge and go public
Whether it’s an obstacle course, a 5km walk, run or maybe even something more challenging like a triathlon, once you’ve committed to doing an event and have a date and challenge to work towards you’re much more likely to stick to a regular training routine. And by telling your friends and family or even raising money for charity you’ll be even more likely to follow through.
2. Set rewards for yourself
This old trick was taught to us by our parents at a young age; do as you’re told or get good results and you’ll get an ice-cream as a reward. We carry this with us into adulthood so why not set yourself a clear goal and reward yourself once you achieve it. Perhaps your goal is to go to the gym a minimum of three days a week for six weeks and your reward is that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing up. Once you’ve achieved this goal, set another with a new reward – maybe a massage next time.
3. Phone a friend/partner
Accountability is key, when you’re not just relying on yourself to get to the gym but are going with a friend or partner you’ll be less likely to flake. They’ll be there to motivate you on days you just can’t be bothered, and visa versa.
4. Find something you love
Committing to running three days a week when you can’t stand the thought of it is a recipe for failure. Write down a list of things you think you might enjoy and sign up for taster classes until you find the thing you enjoy most. If you enjoy doing something you’re far more likely to want to keep going.
5. Get some new gear
There’s nothing quite as exciting as a new pair of trainers or brand-new gym kit; if you look great you feel great. The term ‘dress for success’ applies to exercise too – so dress up like a pro and get your sweat on!
6. Know your why
Why are you exercising? To improve your health; boost your confidence; lose a few pounds? Whatever your reason you need to understand why you’re doing something. If you’re doing it because you think you should or because your doctor said so you don’t have an internal motivation to keep you going. If you’ve been lacking confidence lately and know that it’s due to poor lifestyle choices then your motivation is because you want to feel great again. If you know this happens when you exercise regularly then you have a strong internal motivation/reason to keep going on days you’re feeling a little de-motivated.