We all know that we should eat healthy and go the gym regularly. Eating healthy can actually be achieved quite easily simply by no longer purchasing any foods that are unhealthy. The occasional slip up happens, but that can be seen as a treat. Going to the gym, however, is a bit harder. Finding that motivation after a long day’s work, or after you have just gotten out of bed, is often impossible. So how do you motivate yourself to get that exercise when there are only so many hours in a day and you really need to use those hours for other things (including some much needed relaxation).
Don’t Do it Alone
This is the most important tip to help you get motivated. Always go to the gym with someone else, be that a friend or a personal trainer.
You could hire a coach, work out with a friend or a group of guys, or work out with your partner. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you tell other people what you’re doing and get some reinforcement.
Not only will you get reinforcement, you will also feel more obliged to go to the gym. After all, if you don’t go, you are letting someone else down, who may feel they need it more than you. While guilt tripping yourself into things is normally not the right way to go about it, it works when it comes to the gym. This is also because, once you get to the gym, the guilt will melt away and you will simply enjoy yourself.
Treats are so important. Remember that feeling as a child when you got rewarded for doing something good? That is not a feeling owned solely by children. Adults feel equally good and proud in themselves if they receive an acknowledgement of their good performance. So make sure that you reward yourself at regular intervals.
An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile. It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.
Deciding on the type of reward you give yourself is up to you. Some people are happy with allowing themselves a weekly smoothie if they put in enough hours in the week. Others set themselves certain weight goals or performance goals and if they meet them, they reward themselves with a new piece of jewelry or something else that they can have on them. That way, they can actually see their reward more permanently.
Keep a Diary of Your Workout Online or on a Phone App
We do everything online nowadays and there are apps to track everything as well. Plus, more and more people are using smartwatches, which monitor and track calories burned and more. Use these types of things as much as possible, because they give you a visual of how you are progressing. Furthermore, logging them through an online app often also allows you to compare your own progress to that of others, which is an added motivator.
Social networking sites like Facebook and DailyMile offer an extra layer of social support. ‘You’ve got potentially all of your online contacts holding you accountable,’ says Michele Olson, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama.
An added benefit is that, if you regularly log the workouts that you do, but you suddenly start slacking off, other people who have been following your activities will ask you what is going on. Remember the first pointer, which said that you should take someone with you? Logging your workouts online or through an app is like having a virtual person with you who will also keep track of all your activities.
Join a Gym or Club You Actually Like
It is likely that there are at least three gyms in your geographical vicinity that you can go to. Make sure that you choose one where you feel safe and comfortable. Women, for instance, often don’t like going to gyms that focus heavily on weightlifting and are filled with highly pumped up men. Don’t stop going to the gym if that is the type of gym that is the closest to your home, or the one you have heard of. Go to a different one instead. Making sure that you go to a workout center that you like will ensure you never have to drag your feet because you would rather be anywhere else.
It’s worth it to join a gym you actually like and that offers the facilities you need if it keeps you motivated to go, even if it’s a little more costly than the alternatives.
You may find that the gym that you like is also the most expensive. But if you choose the cheaper gym and never go, you are actually throwing money away. If you pay a bit more, but you actually end up going, then you are clearly getting more value for your money. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for motivation to go somewhere where you feel comfortable and happy.
Finally, you have to make sure that you actually set yourself goals that you can achieve. You may want to lose 100lbs in weight, but is it realistic to do that in just a few months? If you set yourself goals that are overambitious, you are likely to fail. And even if you don’t fail, you will only be able to achieve overambitious goals by being incredibly unhealthy, which you won’t be able to keep up. Stick to goals that you are able to meet and take it slowly. That way, the results will be so much better as well.
There are plenty of ways to motivate yourself to work out regularly. Find out what works for you and use that to your advantage. There are ways to look at those limited amount of hours in a day and know that you will be able to allocate at least some of them to a workout.