We're just going to say it, working out is hard. Creating a consistent workout habit and finding the motivation to stick to it is even harder.
We know working out is important. We know staying active will keep us healthy. But sometimes, a Netflix binge on the couch sounds way more appealing than hitting the gym on a Saturday morning.
If you need a little extra help finding the motivation to workout and keep working out, don't worry, we've got you covered. Check out these tips to consistently find the motivation to workout and build a healthy lifestyle.
Use Specific Rewards
Ever tell yourself you're going to the gym and the reward will be, "getting healthy!" Does it work? How long before you're skipping lifting sessions or convincing yourself that you're getting healthy in other ways so it's ok?
According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, we need more tangible rewards. According to Duhigg, you should create a habit loop that ends with a reward you'll want to work toward.
Start with a trigger, set an alarm for the time you want to leave, complete your routine, then get your reward. The reward increases the likelihood that this routine becomes a habit. And, since the reward is tangible, you're not just waiting for the moment you feel healthier or lose a few pounds. Your brain will start to recognize that the behavior (working out) leads to a reward which means you're more likely to stick to it.
Workout With Friends
Working out alone is boring and if you're bored, you're more likely to quit. Working out with a group of friends that encourages you and laughs with you and understands what you're going through when you're pushing through the last mile...that's fun. And when working out is fun and rewarding, you're more likely to stick to it.
Surrounding yourself with people who share your passion, can help build your confidence, will lift you up when you're down and will help you push yourself, will keep you coming back, even when you don't want to.
Make a Commitment
Telling yourself you're going to do something is one thing, making a commitment is another. We're never quicker to break promises than when we make them to ourselves. Instead of just promising yourself you're going to go to the gym 3 times a week, get an accountability partner and sign a contract. Make your promise in front of a group of people who will call you out if you break it. Better yet, put a little money on the line. Nothing will get you to the gym faster than if you have to pay your friend every time you skip.
We're pretty forgiving when we break promises to ourselves, but our wallets won't forgive us if we lose $20 every time we get lazy.
Have a Plan
"I'm gonna start hitting the gym more," isn't a plan. And it's not going to get you there for any consistent amount of time. "More" could just mean more than you did last week, which was zero. "Hit the gym" doesn't mean anything except that you're going to be at the gym. When it comes to finding motivation, a specific plan can be key.
Pick the days you're going to go. Decide what you're going to do on those days. If you need to take your gym bag, plan to pack it the night before.
A better plan would be: "I'm going to the gym before work on Monday and Wednesday. On Monday I will run on the track for 2 miles and on Wednesday I will do a leg circuit. I will pack my gym clothes on Sunday and Tuesday night so I don't forget them."
That's a plan that will not only get you to the gym at a specific time but gives you an idea of what to do once you're there so you're not wasting time or feeling lost.
Form Healthy Habits
Getting in a workout when you don't feel like it doesn't just mean finding motivation at that moment. You're definitely not going to feel like going to the gym Monday morning if you have a few glasses of wine and stay up late watching a movie Sunday night. Your Wednesday evening run is going to be a lot harder if you had a big Mexican lunch.
Changing your daily habits and creating a healthier lifestyle not only makes you feel better, it makes it easier to get off your couch and go workout. A tired and carbo-loaded you is not likely to go run a few miles. Eat healthier on the days you're hitting the gym. Cut out alcohol the night before a workout. Pack a healthy snack to give you the energy to turn toward the health club instead of home after work. When you make little changes in your life, you'll start to see big results.
Keep Your Feet Feeling Good
It might sound simple, but if your feet are sore after a workout, it’s going to be a lot harder to keep at it. Making sure you have the right shoes and the right support is key to avoiding injuries or sore muscles during and after your workout.