Exercising is a crucial part of being healthy, yet for many of us, it is so easy to talk ourselves out of actually doing anything. Even when we’ve made our New Year’s resolutions to get fit and healthy this year (and last year…), and we’ve had every intention on doing our best, we always find some excuse – like being too tired, stressed, or busy.
With the right mindset and a little help along the way, you can motivate yourself to start that fitness routine. In this article, we are going to give you some tips to keep yourself on track – making time for exercise in your daily routine may actually be easier than you think.
Exercising doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.”
You don’t have to spend hours working out every day and force yourself to do the same painful activities you hate over and over again to experience all the benefits of exercise. Even just a little bit of exercise is better than no exercise at all. By just adding a modest amount of physical activity to your weekly routine, you’ll find a significant boost to not only your physical health but your mental and emotional health as well.
Do it because you WANT to.
There are studies out there that show people who are “externally motivated” to work out, don’t tend to stick with it. These are the people who are only working out to look good for something, like a reunion. The people who are “internally motivated” are the ones who stick with their fitness regimen for the long haul. These are the people who exercise because they love it.
Remember, that workouts take practice.
You’re not going to do everything perfectly on the first day, probably not even the first week. You probably won’t have the perfect form or get all the moves just right – those things take practice. Don’t give up if you don’t get it just right the first few times; you will get the hang of it as long as you keep making an effort.
Work within your limits.
Don’t force yourself to go too far beyond your limits. Instead, by working within them, you can gradually grow stronger. Nearly half of the people who start a new fitness program will actually abandon it within the first year. This is because they’re pushing themselves to do something that is way too hard for their strength or endurance level, and they can’t keep up. Don’t fall into that trap.
Having self-compassion will actually increase the likelihood that you’ll succeed in whatever goal you’re trying to reach. Don’t beat yourself up about your body or your fitness level – that will just demotivate you. Rather than being upset with where you are, look at the unhealthy choices you’ve made in the past and use them as opportunities to grow and learn.
Bring a friend with you.
Having a friend to exercise with can be a great motivator. When you feel more like plopping down on the couch instead of practicing your punches, they can get you back on track.
Make it part of your daily routine.
You don’t want to skip out on brushing your teeth or having breakfast (the most important meal of the day), do you? Don’t skip out on working out either – it should become a seamless part of your daily routine. After a few months, fitness will be a regular part of your day, and you won’t even have to think about doing it – it will just be second nature.
Focus on the “now.”
Did you miss class last week? Did you have some cupcakes at your niece’s birthday party this weekend? So what? Leave the guilt in the past and focus on today – now is the time to get back into your routine.
Track your progress.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that”? Well, there are tons of apps out there that can help you record your progress. And if you’re not so much into technology, make a fitness journal to keep track of how much you’ve done and how far you’ve come.
Have realistic expectations.
Let’s be real; you’re not going to lose 30 pounds in a week. Aim for something that’s realistic and healthy. Don’t expect too much too soon; it will only frustrate and discourage you. If you focus on consistency, you’re likely to find improvements in your mood and energy levels. The physical payoff may take a little longer, but if you stick to it, you’re sure to reach your fitness goals.
Start with baby steps.
So, you might have a goal of working out for 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week, but how likely are you to follow through with it? As harsh as it sounds, the more ambitious your goal is, the more likely you are to fail or give up. It’s better to start with easy goals that you know you can achieve. As you meet these goals, you’ll build up momentum and self-confidence, and then you can move on to harder challenges.
Don’t neglect rewarding yourself.
Sure, people who exercise tend to do it because it brings rewarding benefits to their lives, such as better sleep, more energy, and more confidence – but these are long-term rewards. When starting a new exercise program, it’s important to give yourself some immediate rewards as well when you finish a workout session or reach a goal. Pick something you’ll look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do it until after the exercise is done. It can be something simple like a relaxing bubble bath or a cup of cocoa.
Exercise is essential and it will bring so many wonderful benefits to your life, you just need to take the step to make it a part of your everyday routine. Some key tips to sticking to your routine are staying positive, starting with baby steps, and having realistic expectations. So, what are you waiting for? Put those excuses away, and find a little time in your day to exercise and reap the rewards!