With summer weather finally arriving, along with the inevitable “Beach Body” inspo barraging our social media feeds, you’re probably feeling the pressure to work out now more than ever.
Because the health benefits of exercise are numerous – including improved strength and mobility, better sleep, and increased levels of energy and happiness – everyone knows they should start a workout program; however, sticking to one is a whole other story. It’s pretty common to go out and buy the new Lulu pants, the Nikes sneakers, and the Hydro Flash Double Insulated Water Bottle, only to sputter out on your new exercise routine within a week or two and resume your go-to position on the couch.
I get it. The couch is super comfy. Give me the newest House of Cards season with a glass of red, and I’ll snuggle up right next to you. But no matter how inviting your couch is, deep down inside (maybe wayyyyy deep down inside), you really want long-lasting change when it comes to improving your fitness.
What’s preventing you from achieving your goals comes down to the big M word: Motivation. Unfortunately, you cannot take a swig of motivation and victoriously push your way through the finish line. More often than not, a tweaked mindset and a few simple tools fuel motivation. Below are a few easy practices that have helped me and my clients stay on track to achieve our individual fitness goals.
- Know Your “Why”
Knowing why you want to start working out is key for sticking it out. Your why has to be YOURS and yours alone, so it helps to get really clear and super specific with it. Is it to increase your energy because you’ve got two babies under the age of two that you need to keep up with? Is it for a health reason, like depression?
Your why has to serve your highest good, and it should reflect how you want to FEEL. That means, don’t work out to get a Kardashian/Jenner ass, or abs like J. Lo. Those ego-inflated reasons often leave you frustrated, dissatisfied, and ultimately listless. Once you get crystal clear with your why, you’re able to easily navigate around obstacles and naysayers and create the healthy lifestyle you desire.
- Schedule a Regular Workout Time
Most committed exercisers get up really early or work out at night (usually once the kids are in bed). I do both, but I prefer exercising first thing in the morning. That way my workout is out of the way and I am able to enjoy the rest of my day without worrying how to “squeeze” in a sweat session.
No matter what time you choose, commit to it like your life depends on it. Schedule a 45-60 minute workout into your weekly planner like it’s the interview for your dream job. Not committing to a regular workout time makes it really easy to forget it or make up excuses to skip it for something “more important.” But honestly, there’s nothing more important than your health and sense of well-being. Right?
- Set a Goal
There’s no better feeling than achieving a goal. Whether you’d like to complete a 5K run or fit into your skinny jeans, having a goal is an awesome way to stay motivated. Once you define your goal, plan a realistic schedule for it that also includes celebrating the small milestones throughout your journey.
Often times big goals take upwards of a year to accomplish, which can feel so daunting that you might want to give up mid-way. NOOOOOO! This is why if you plan for a sweet mini-reward halfway through your progress (like a weekend spa vacation), you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel.
- Make it Fun
Exercise can be fun. Seriously. Of course it all depends on your attitude, but it also helps if you spice up your exercise routine. Whether you join a barre or boxing class, or trade in the treadmill for a trail run, mixing up your routine will keep it both effective and enjoyable – which means you’ll be less likely to stop it.
Remember: make sure to do activities that interest YOU. For example, if you hate Pilates but are paying for a Pilates class because you read Miley Cyrus does Pilates, then for the love of Malibu, skip the Pilates class. It’s important to do activities that you really love so that you’ll be having sooo much fun you won’t feel like you’re working out at all!
- Make it Cost You $$$
Shameless plug? Maybe. But, let’s put it this way: if you’ve already shelled out some bucks to a personal trainer, you’ll be less inclined to stay in with pizza and America’s Got Talent and more motivated to hit the gym as you’d originally planned. Plus, a personal trainer is not only paid to create routines for you (so you can turn your brain off and not get overwhelmed with equipment), but she’s also there to motivate you with tons of support and affirmations – especially when the going gets tough. It’s an investment that will pay off in more ways than one. You’re worth it!
Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer for She Does the City and a personal trainer and healthy eating coach in the GTA. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook and check out her free Beginner’s 4 Week At-Home Workout series here.