Starting a new exercise regimen is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. It’s easy enough to stay motivated to stick to your new exercise routine for the first few weeks, but what happens when January departs and takes your motivation with it?
In order to stick with your new workout routine over the long term, you’ll need to find some effective ways to keep doing what you no longer feel inclined to do. Let others in on your commitment so they can hold you to it. Find some incentives that can help you reinforce the exercise routine. Make exercise buddies who can bolster your motivation even when you’re not in the mood to exercise. Keep up your motivation long enough, and eventually your exercise routine will become a habit so ingrained that skipping a workout will seem unthinkable.
Work Out with Friends
Working out with friends is one of the best ways to stay committed to an exercise routine. It’s one thing to decide to skip a solitary workout — it only affects you. But skipping out on a gym session with a friend means letting your friend down, something most people aren’t willing to do.
Commit to exercising with a friend or partner who can keep you motivated. If you have a friend or loved one who already exercises regularly, that’s ideal — it means your friend will be able to sustain the motivation to exercise even as your drive fades. If you don’t know someone with whom to exercise, look for an exercise class, ideally one where you can form connections with others in the class so that you can begin to look forward to class as a social event as well as a fitness commitment.
Alternatively, you can join an exercise group or MeetUp in your area. Your workout buddy doesn’t even need to be human — some exercisers have found that they if they skip a morning run with their beloved pooch, the dog acts out in frustration later in the day.
Make Exercising Worth It
You’ve probably already heard that rewarding yourself can help you stay committed to an exercise routine. Exercising regularly can help you manage your dependence on expensive prescription drugs (although you can mitigate costs by ordering from Canada Drug Pharmacy) by staving off many of the health problems that occur due to a sedentary lifestyle. But while benefits of exercise like better health or a longer life may seem intangible, offering yourself a real treat after each workout can help convince your brain that exercising is worth it.
Treat yourself to an episode of your favorite TV show, a healthy snack, or some quality time with a new book by your favorite author. Over time, rewarding yourself will help you to form an exercise habit, and before long, your brain will begin to associate exercise with the endorphin rush that comes after — and then the workout itself will become the treat.
Telling others about your plan to start a new exercise routine can be a powerful way to keep yourself motivated, especially if those people hold you to your promise. One way to do that is to track your workouts on social media. Use a fitness app to post your workout results on Facebook and get involved with online fitness forums where you can benefit from the support of a like-minded community.
You might be surprised how supportive and encouraging your Facebook friends and Twitter followers can be when you start logging your workouts and discussing your fitness goals online. You might also consider using an app like Pact, which charges your credit card or PayPal account each time you fail to meet a fitness goal — and pays you for goals that you do reach.
It’s hard to get motivated to work out when you don’t have the right clothes, so if fitness is your goal, invest in enough of the workout clothes and equipment you need to make it happen. Have a clean pair of workout clothes for every day of the week you plan to work out. Make choosing your outfit easy — get five of the same one. Pick clothes that make you feel good about yourself so you don’t feel self-conscious at the gym.
Leave your gym bag next to the door, where you can see it, and put any home exercise equipment out where you’ll spot it regularly throughout the day. Leaving your workout stuff out will help remind you to use it. Put dumbbells, step machines, and other workout equipment where you can use it as you watch TV or talk on the phone.
Identify and Remove Your Obstacles
For most people, the key to forming an exercise routine is to figure out what obstacle, or obstacles, might be standing between them and success. If you’re not a morning person, you might want to re-think committing to get up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym every morning before work; instead, stopping at the gym on the way home could be a better plan. Figure out what’s stopping you from finding the motivation to work out, and then find a way around it.
Motivating yourself to make exercising a regular habit can be hard, especially in the first several months. But once you find the motivational trick that works for you, you’ll soon find that exercising isn’t a chore, but just another part of your daily life.