Whether you are trying to stay committed to your New Year resolutions, or just stay on track in your health and fitness routine, anyone will tell you that there are highs and lows. Staying motivated is not always an easy task. No matter what you end goal is—to kick a bad habit, lose some stubborn pounds, or gain muscle mass—some days are going to be easier than others.
Let’s take me as an example. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. on Monday mornings after a busy weekend takes a special push to get my tennis shoes on and me out the door. Even more challenging for me is working out in the evening after a long day at work (hence my morning routine). Maybe your challenge is keeping your fitness routine up throughout the entire week, or perhaps not skipping it for some weekend fun.
On those challenging days, we cannot let “how we feel” decide if we stick with our healthy lifestyle, or toss it to the wayside. I am the first to tell you that it oftentimes is easier said than done, but the reality is that it all comes down to choice. You and I have a choice. We can choose to keep going forward, even if we get off track temporarily. Keep moving forward to reach your health, weight loss or fitness goals.
The good news is that it is possible to power through these “off days.” Here are 15 expert tips to stay motivated to reach your health and fitness goals this year, regardless of whatever twists and turns may come your way.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Hiring a personal trainer is an excellent way to give yourself some accountability and push yourself. If the cost of a personal trainer is not something your budget can endure for a long period of time, perhaps just hire one for 2-3 classes to give you a jumpstart and get you back on track. If a personal trainer is completely out of the question, do not despair. There are many fitness apps available, even free, that can be a great alternative to a human personal trainer.
Take Progress Notes or Photos
Taking a “before” and “after” photo can be especially motivating, especially if the scale does not seem to be budging much. Seeing results, no matter how small or big, can give you the push to keep going. If the camera is not your thing, just write out your progress; and this is not necessarily limited to weight loss. For example, track your progress in running or weight training. Progress can be measured in many different ways, all working together for a healthier lifestyle.
Join a New Class
Is there a Zumba class you have been wanting to try? Or, perhaps a Pilate or Yoga class? If your motivation is waning, now is the time to join. Joining a new fitness class is an excellent way to reinvigorate your motivation and have a little fun at the same time.
Create a New Playlist
Listening to the same songs day in and day out can become mundane. Spend a few hours on a rainy day creating a new playlist. A few new songs on your playlist is such an easy way to stay motivated.
Find a Workout Buddy
If you have always worked out alone, now may be the time to find a workout buddy. A workout buddy can be there with you to push you, set new fitness goals, and celebrate when you both reach them. Mostly, having someone that depends on you to show up could be the perfect way to help you stay motivated.
Design a Home Gym
Not everyone likes going to the gym. Some prefer to work out in the privacy of their own home, whereas others find a home gym much more convenient. If you are facing too many challenging days, it may be a good time to invest in yourself by designing a new home gym. This does not need to be an elaborate home gym. Even a new bench, a few weights and dumbbells, and a used treadmill can be enough to reenergize you toward reaching your fitness goals.
Find a New (Active) Hobby
Now, when I say find a new hobby, I am not suggesting you take of knitting or puzzles. As great as those may be, look more to hobbies that require you to be active. This might be hiking, or swimming, or dancing. Or, maybe join a softball or racquetball league. All of these are great examples or hobbies that also offer excellent cardio benefits.
Get Hooked On a New Show
Yes, I you read that right—get hooked on a new show. This is my personal favorite for days when I am too exhausted to do anything but sit on the couch, or dread the idea of getting out from under the warm covers of my bed. One trick is to find a show that you only permit yourself to watch when working out. Then, enjoy watching the show while you walk on the treadmill, do the elliptical or lift weights. This can be a great motivational tool and, as I have found, help the workout go by much more quickly.
Train in the Morning
I had convinced myself for many years that working out in the mornings was “not for me.” I limited myself to evenings. This worked out fine on the weekends, but what I found happening was that exercise got pushed down on the priority list by the end of a long workday—so far down that it never happened. I finally decided to try switching my workouts to the mornings, forcing myself to get up slightly earlier to accommodate it. It was very soon that I found I preferred working out in the mornings when I had the most energy. This change is a terrific way to switch things up and get over a fitness slump and stop making excuses for not fitting in a workout.
Join a New Gym
Most cities have a wide array of gyms available. An easy way to keep yourself motivated is to switch to a new gym, perhaps one that offers something new. Some offer more group fitness than others, while some gyms offer pools for swimming and hot yoga. If you are not currently a member of a gym, even better. Tour a few gyms in your area, and join the one that works best for you and your fitness goals.
Buy New Workout Clothes
One of the easiest motivational tricks is to buy yourself a new pair of shoes, or new workout clothes. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a couple new sport bras. Sporting some new workout clothes can make you feel better about yourself, and more excited to workout.
Read a New Health Book
If you find that your motivation is consistently low, a great way to get back on track is to pick up a new health or fitness book. Most libraries offer many books from which to choose if you do not want to spend the money on a new book. This can help refocus your mindset and be a reminder as to the many benefits of kicking unhealthy habits and striving for a healthier lifestyle.
Skip the Scale
For women in particular, stepping on the scale on a daily basis may actually be a cause of low motivation. Workout out consistently and eating right, but not seeing the scale budget can be frustrating at times. What is important to remember is that the scale is not always an accurate depiction of our progress. This is especially true if you are weight training. Try skipping your morning weigh-in for a while and just focus on how your clothes fit, or how you feel.
Set Non-Food Rewards
Setting goals for yourself and rewards to reaching the goals can be an effective way to stay motivated. However, opt for rewards that are not food since that may counteract your efforts. Try rewarding yourself with a massage, or a new outfit or pair of shoes, for instance.
Take a Break
Finally, sometimes we need to just take a break. This is not blanket permission to eat whatever you want and sit on the couch eating Twinkies. What it is, though, is permission to let your body and mind rest some. Take a week where you only take evening strolls after dinner and take a few days off from your intense workouts. Listen to your body. It will tell you when it is burnt out and needs a break.