We’ve all been there. Your alarm sounds, and instead of popping and heading for that morning sweat sesh, your mind manufactures excuses and imaginary obligations to separate you from the workout you planned the night before, “Gotta answer emails!” “Need to watch that video!” Ignore these clever sabotages and get your butt on the treadmill, to the gym, or to your weights before another irrelevant thought can sidetrack you.
How do you disregard the distracting monologue in your unhelpful head? Everyone is different so you must find what inspires YOU to keep YOU going!
Here are 5 suggestions to help you stay motivated, disciplined, and fresh. Success doesn’t come overnight, but the foundation of feeling good in your body is worth building.
1. Work it from the Outside In
Lay your workout clothes out before you go to bed right where you will see them and put them on the minute you get up. If you look like you’re going to workout, there is a good chance you will work out. Plus, you will feel like you’ve made a mental commitment to your goals. Your body is literally encased in that goal, reminding you how much you really want to get moving.
2. Give Yourself a REAL Reward
Sure, you may be motivated by admirable goals like “better health” or “losing weight,” but neither of these are achievable overnight and we tend to give up on activities that don’t provide instant gratification. So, for example, promise yourself a smoothie, or an episode of your favorite Netflix show as soon as your workout is completed. Journalist Charles Duhigg, author or The Power of Habit, describes creating a neurological “habit loop,” which means establishing a cue to trigger the behavior you desire, (setting out your workout clothes the night before!) Keeping the reward in mind as you work out pushes you through to the habit you are working to build.
3. Find a Fitness Tribe
We all know that no gym facility or personal trainer can make you do more squats or rack up more miles. in fact, joining a gym is a form of what behavioral economists call “pre-commitment.” It’s a promise you hope your future self will stick to. But most people don’t keep that promise. Thats why memberships are so cheap - the ones who don’t use the showers, the soap, or the electricity everyday, they subsidize members who do. For many of us, the best inspiration is a strong, supportive community of friends! (This is true for all aspects of life!) The laughs, the words of encouragement, the inspirational texts and high fives along the way are things money simply can’t buy. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and encourage your self-confidence. The payoff to putting yourself out there among a group of people with similar goals? PRICELESS!
4. Embrace Your Competitive Side & Mix It Up
If you’re anything like me, OrangeTheory treadmills used to have me almost running off the treadmill. Why? I had to beat the person next to me! To bring out the competitor in you, make it fun and track your times. Try a one-mile run and time yourself. Then run two more times that week and the fourth time you run time yourself again and see if you improved. You can also make your strength training competitive. Mix up your workouts, but write down your numbers so you can visually SEE your progress. It will help you stay on track and will paint a picture of all your results! Whenever you are needing an extra boost, refer back to those numbers.
5. Stop Making Exercise About How You Look
Don’t focus on getting ripped. Concern yourself with getting strong. Don’t worry about six-pack abs. Build toward core strength. The runner’s body will come if you focus instead on how stamina improves with each new road work session. (You were out of breath after a mile. Now you can run five easily.) Shredded arms are nice, but we are all not built the same and outcomes will vary. Changing the way your body looks is the long-term result of exercising muscles consistently. If at the start of your program you focus on looking a certain way, you are more likely to give up and fall short of your long term goals of health and strength and, yes, looking fit.
Instead, try setting minor, smaller goals so you can celebrate smaller victories! Focus on how much easier it gets to complete a 20-rep set than it was just a few weeks before. Focus on adding reps as you gain strength. Do two kinds of crunches instead of just one. There are so many things to celebrate about yourself as you consistently show up and complete each day’s workout. Whether it’s doing 5 push ups, nailing that first pull up or running a mile under a specific time, you should feel amazing about these accomplishments! Get moving and be proud!