We have all started fitness programs only to see them fail a few months later. Here are 8 tips to keep you motivated and on track to reach all of your health goals.
Starting a fitness program is the easiest thing in the world. Sticking to a fitness program is the hardest thing in the world. Here are 8 simple tips to help keep you on track to meeting your fitness goals.
#1: HAVE A PLAN
This may seem super obvious but you would be surprised at how many people start out their fitness plans with goals like, “get fit.” What does that even mean? Make a real plan—one that has goals that are defined and a timeline. There are lots of types of goals you can make. You might be someone who is inspired by numbers and distances so think of goals like, “run a marathon by next September,” or “be able to deadlift 200 lbs by the end of the year.” Once you have a specific goal and a time to complete it all you have to do is work backward. If you want to run a marathon a year by next September, by next August you better be able to almost run a marathon. Once you have your big goal that has a date, you can make smaller goals to help you get there in the time frame that you are looking for.
#2: PAY FOR AN EVENT
There is nothing to get you motivated like paying for an event. If you want to do a century ride next year, find one and pay for it as early as you can. Many events will let you register six months to a year in advance. You can find events that have all different kinds of price tags and that is perfect. It is not about how much you spend, it is about actually spending the money. You will find that you are less likely to skip your workout if you have already paid the $40 entrance fee.
#3: DO IT WITH A FRIEND
Ever have one of those days when you just can not find the motivation to get on with your workout. We all have and we all know that we feel better when we just go and workout but it is hard to remember that. Find yourself a friend to workout with and you will find that you are less likely to give in to the feeling of skipping the workout. Knowing that there is someone waiting for you at 6 in the morning makes hitting the snooze much less likely.
#4: BE REALISTIC
Has it been a while since you last worked out? That is fine. Anyone can benefit from trying to become more fit. What you should not do is set goals that are not realistic. If it has been years since you exercised regularly do not make a goal to exercise for 2 hours a day 6 days a week. Your body can not do that. You will burn out or injure yourself and then you will be even less likely to stick to your goals. A good rule of thumb is to not add more than 10% to your workout each week. So, if you are putting on your walking shoes and walking 2 miles, 3 times this week next week you should not walk more than 2.2 miles, 3 times a week. That may seem small but you will be less prone to injury and more likely to actually reach your goals.
#5: TELL SOMEBODY ABOUT IT
This trick to helping you stick to your fitness routine requires a little bit more social skill than the others. Tell someone about your new commitment. We are not suggesting that you plaster pictures of yourself all over social media every time you complete a workout. What we are suggesting is that next time you go into the office on a Monday and your co-workers ask you what you did over the weekend tell them that you upped your mileage on your long run because you are working toward running a marathon next year. Do not share too much (it is hard to believe but not everybody at work likes to talk about their workouts) but you will be surprised that people will actually remember, and in a couple of weeks a co-worker may quickly ask you how your training is going.
#6: MAKE YOURSELF A “PASS.”
We all know the kinds of things that derail a fitness plan because most of us have been derailed more than once in our lives. We suggest that you make yourself a get-out-of-one-workout-free card. You get one a month. If you’re sick, if an emergency comes up, you can use the card. You can skip a workout and you do not have to feel any guilt and you can just get right back on the wagon. If your goal is to work out 3 times a week you would work out roughly 13 times a month. If you use your card you will work out 12 times a month. That is still such an amazing accomplishment and you will find that because you have a card in your pocket to get out of a workout you will not feel so tied down by your new goals.
#7: INVEST IN CLOTHES
Investing in good-fitting athletic shoes and clothing is an excellent way to inspire you to stick to your program. Firstly, feeling confident in the way you look while your work out makes for a better workout. Wearing shoes with good support can help keep you from getting injured. Secondly, every time you put on the clothes and shoes, you will remember that you are spending time and money investing in yourself.
#8: WRITE DOWN YOUR PROGRESS
It is easy to forget where you are coming from when you hit a plateau or stop seeing the big changes that you were seeing at the beginning. That is why you should document your progress. Write it down, take pictures, take measurements. We do not recommend that you do it every day or even every week but every month take the time to write down all of those things. It may not be quick progress but you will see progress.