Updated: Aug 31, 2021
I know this is one of our biggest struggles. In exercise; in life. So here are my top tips for ways to stay motivated with your workouts.
I am a workout-in-the-morning type of person. And whilst this might look like crazy self-discipline, it’s only through trial and error that I’ve ended up here. I used to put off workouts until later in the day, and more often than not it means I would end up not doing it. I learnt the benefits outweigh the inconveniences. The positive energy, mentally and physically, I get from doing it are so worthwhile compared to the temporary discomfort of actually doing it!
1. Know your why
It becomes easier when you know why you want to do it; when it stops becomes something you have to do. I know I move my body to get mentally strong and to have the energy I need to do all the other things I’d like to do in my life. Your why might be your children or family, your long term health conditions or concerns, your confidence. From my experience of working with one-to-one clients, it’s never usually just the weight loss, just the dress size, just the special occasion. The reason for wanting change always goes a little deeper than that, and if you can tap into what that might be, it’s some extra oomph to stay consistent even when it’s boring.
2. Don’t rely on how you feel - follow a plan
Life’s better with a plan! Yes I may be a little bit biased here, but having a fixed plan takes so much of the off-putting mental effort out of it. Sometimes the plan is as loose as today is a running/yoga day, others it’s a specific workout programme to follow, or a specific yoga flow. Deciding what you’re going to do in advance helps so much! Many of think that we have to feel motivated or inspired to start something when most of the time it is THE OTHER WAY ROUND!
Action leads to motivation.
If you're angry, sad, tired, overwhelmed - you might be surprised with how therapeutic moving your body might be.
Here are some simple ways to find a plan - follow a fitness challenge on social media, work with a coach who can design a personalised programme for you, follow a video series or app, track your progress using an app, and experiment with what works for you!
3. Enjoy it (and use music)
If you really, really hate running, then stop. You don’t have to do it. Maybe swimming is your thing instead, or dancing, or skipping or walking. Gymnastics, aerial yoga, golf, sex, cleaning, barre, hiking, power-walking or horse riding. Do your thing - and that can be enough. You do not have to force yourself to do something you hate.
Top tip - if you know you do in fact love a certain type of movement but the getting going is really tough, then let the music do the work for you! I often use this hack when practising yoga. It can be really hard just to take that first step onto my mat. But putting on a few tunes first, even a tiny little bop can be enough to get me into it.
Need a little inspiration? Check out my Spotify profile for here for a mixture of yoga, workout and relaxing playlists: https://open.spotify.com/user/ks7y5hffoj2g7jt8udv2v1h7x?si=tfiv2a-lS9-7vSx8kS1IMQ&utm_source=native-share-menu
4. Forgive yourself
Yes, you’ll miss some days, weeks or even months. That’s ok. Your life comes in seasons. You don’t always have to be getting better or stronger or progressing at everything. You might choose to run in summer but not in winter. You might have to take time away with injuries, other life commitments or unplanned for occurrences. That’s ok. The way you choose to nourish your body will look different at different times of the day, week, months or years. Your preferred exercise might change. You’ll lift lighter or heavier. You’ll not be able to do something you once could, and you’ll learn how to do something else.
Generally, the average person is not needing to follow a super-strict specific training programme like an Olympic athlete needs. So be kind to yourself.
Be aware - you need to find a balance that works individually for you with this. It’s not a case of thinking of an excuse and that’s a reason for not doing it because that’s the kind thing for you to do. Long term goals (know your why!) mean it’s consistent (not perfect) effort over the long term that yields incredible results. So maybe this will help you if you’re struggling to find the balance between excuses and kindness - don’t miss twice.
"The best way to gain strength is not to miss workouts."
- James Clear
What are your favourite ways to stay motivated? Share them below!