[h3 fancy=”true”]How to keep your motivation up over winter[/h3]
If losing weight could be as easy as writing about what you put in your mouth…. could you use the same technique to help you stick to a fitness routine?
If you keep a food diary you are likely to lose twice as much weight as those who kept no records, according to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. But while keeping a journal holds you more accountable for how you treat your body, sticking to a fitness routine is different from sticking to a healthy eating routine. We recommend these tactics to keep you motivated and inspired to work out.
1. Change your perspective
Shift your thinking from couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete. This may sound like a big challenge, but it’s not as big a leap as you think.
Mums can think about exercise as a way to set a strong example for their kids, partners can try to be a great example to their other halves. Think of something you’d love to do, but “aren’t fit enough yet” and keep that in mind as your goal . Try to use examples like these as motivators and you’ll have a lot more success rather than only concentrating on the weighing scales every other day.
Even if you find it hard to get into a regular routine, try to think of your work out as a blessing rather than a sacrifice. Find inspiration in others—look outward for extra motivation. Whether you need to hang an “I’m lucky” sticky note on the mirror, or you can see the power of health in your children’s eyes, committing to a fitness routine begins in your head.
2. Set a goal
There’s nothing more motivating — sometimes even scary — than that first 5K looming in bold letters on the calendar. Register early and commit to an exercise program that will get you in shape by race day.
The goal doesn’t even have to be an organized race. Maybe it’s a mission to fit into those old pair of jeans buried in your closet. Whatever it is is, define it, write it down and revisit it daily.
Make sure it’s realistic and you can actually adapt your life around meeting the goal. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure. Started with a mini goal or achievement, something you feel you can really sink your teeth into, then take it from there.
3. Schedule a regular workout time
Some of the most committed exercisers do it every day before the sun comes up or late at night when the kids are in bed. Sit down with your weekly schedule and try to build in an hour each day to be good to your body.
If you convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout some time after that last meeting, once the kids go down for a nap or when your spouse arrives home on time, failure is certain. Chances are… a last-minute invitation will come along; weather will foil a bike ride; or the kids won’t settle. Write your workout on your calendar, set up daycare, and rearrange things around this one hour as if were any other important appointment you have to keep. Or use technology like daily e-mail reminders, workout journalling websites or iPhone applications to keep you on task.
4. Think fun and variety
By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun — even while we’re working hard. Do both!
Whether it’s a group fitness class that you’ve never tried or a trail run that changes scenery every season, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Make sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing. Think movement that’s more like recreation and makes you forget you’re working out — like boxing, running or playing sports with family.
Workout variety also challenges your body in unique ways, which may introduce you to new muscle groups you didn’t even know you had.
5. Reach out to others for support
In order to stick to a fitness program, we need buy-in and encouragement from other people.
Exercising should be built into your family life, view it as a necessity. Sometimes it takes the place of watching TV…
For others, it’s finding a friend with a shared zest for running, and planning scheduled workouts together. It’s easy to hit the snooze button when it’s just you, but much harder to leave a friend waiting at the track.
Ask your trainer for support, or team up with someone you’ve met in the gym. Lobby your co-workers to start a work place challenge or offer to support someone else on their mission for a healthy lifestyle.
So start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a spectator. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.
Here at True, we’ve sought out specialized programs that offer this kind of support all rolled into one.