I finally got to the stage where my workouts have now become a habit and not something I have to force myself to do, whoop!
It hasn’t been easy but there are a few tips I can share that got me here. Of course there’s no guarantee but give it a shot and it may work for you.
- Get a workout buddy/trainer
It’s really easy to let yourself off the hook for not going to the gym, for that jog or not switching on that workout DVD, but not so easy to waste the time of someone else who made sure they were at the gym on time for you or woke up before the sun did. This makes you accountable and prevents you from slacking.Obviously you need a workout buddy who is not as lazy as you are. For me this has been the most effective method of keeping me on track. During the first week of Focus T25, I had to wake up at 5am to workout and had it not been for my buddy who drove to my house to get me I would have given up on day 1.
- Draw up a calendar and plan your workouts.
Every time you do a planned workout, tick it off the calendar. This will also help you see when you slacked and hopefully make you feel some shame. Shaun T’s Focus T25 calendar is doing wonders for me because I HATE to miss even one day! If I miss one it means I must make up for it on a free day which in my case is Saturday and I really value my free day! Besides, I feel so accomplished when I tick off a day. You can use the template below to create your own calendar.
- Do your workouts when you have the least distractions.
I rarely workout in the evenings because there are just too many things I’d rather be doing. Maybe there’s a TV show I want to watch, or a friend visits or someone has invited me out for dinner. In the mornings however I have less excuses, what else am I doing at 5 am in the morning? If I can wake up, I may as well do the workout.
- Tweet, facebook or instagram your fitness endeavors or join a fitness community online.
This is another way of keeping you accountable, you never know who’s paying attention. When you go silent about your fitness journey they may be the ones who ask you what happened. Blogging and tweeting has definitely helped me. Every morning, I declare to no one in particular what I did and how it went. Through it I have made a few online workout buddies and every now and then we share our experiences or progress.
- Follow motivational fitness pages or fitness icons who you are inspired by.
I can’t get enough of Lyzabeth Lopez on Instagram! Every time I scroll down my Instagram feed and see her videos I feel like jumping up and trying whatever she’s doing. I don’t want to look exactly like her but I love her strength and the levity she brings to working out, she makes it all look so fun! Troll a few profiles until you find someone that inspires you, it’s as simple as searching the word “fitness” on Instagram or Facebook.
- Start slow.
If it’s your first time getting into the fitness thing, you may not want to try a 1 hour workout first. I started with 30 minute workouts and I’m still doing those. However, my stamina is increasing and I can push to 45 minutes or even an hour when I feel inspired. The important thing is to make every second count. If you’re in the gym for 2 hours but only do 30 mins of real work, there’s no point in staying that long. Do as much as you can (and be honest with yourself about how much that is) and then stop and call it a day.
- Be realistic.
It took you months to put on the weight, don’t expect it to melt over night and likewise don’t expect to get fit overnight if your aim is not necessarily to lose weight. Be in it for the long run and don’t let yourself give up till something changes. When the changes do happen, they will be so much more satisfying. Take pictures to track your progress, the scale is usually not a great indicator of weight loss.
- Make it fun!
I know that may be difficult to do if you hate working out to begin with but there are ways to make exercising an enjoyable activity. You may want to do stuff outdoors rather than in a stuffy gym. If you’re using a workout DVD, it’s as simple as grabbing your laptop, going outside and finding a suitable surface to workout on. Try a different activity that you enjoy and doesn’t feel like exercise as much as lifting weights or running once a week; play a sport, swim, go for long walks, hike, join an aerobics class, go bike riding, join a dance class, try pilates or yoga etc. Switch it up to keep yourself interested. Buy some nice bright funky workout clothes and shoes, it may sound stupid but I’m more willing to workout when I look great.
- Don’t let yourself stay in a slump for too long.
Shaun T has 3 simple rules that may help you stay committed: never go 3 days without exercising, workout at least 3 days a week and never miss a Monday workout. That’s not too hard is it? Slumps will come but never let them go on for too long or that too will become a habit.
This list is by no means the only way to stay motivated, you may discover a few different ways of motivating yourself as you become more regular in your workout routine. Over time, the more you workout, the more it will become a habit and eventually you’ll find yourself shuddering at the thought of missing a workout.