We all know that exercise is good for us, but that doesn’t mean that we always want to do it. Whether we’re struggling for time, are feeling too tired from work, or simply don’t have the desire, a lack of motivation can be an enormous obstacle to a regular exercise routine.
But the good news is that we’re never alone. Everyone experiences a dip in motivation from time to time, and luckily there are many methods to get back on track.
So, as a little friendly guidance, we’ve put together some of our top tips on how to motivate yourself to exercise!
Make a plan
The first thing is to clear space in our diaries for exercise. Whether it’s one, two, or three days per week. For an hour, or more, or less. It’s important to commit to a specific time and duration. It makes us more accountable to ourselves, and protects our exercise routines from being disrupted by other plans.
So get out your diary, find a free slot, and write, in big block capitals: ‘EXERCISE’.
If you’ve had a few weeks away from your exercise routine then it’s important to be kind to yourself and take things easy in the beginning. There’s a chance that your overall fitness (and motivation) levels may have dropped slightly, and if you try jumping back in with both feet then you may end up burning out.
The most important thing is to simply get back to exercising. It’s not about how much or how intense, it’s just about the routine. So take things slowly. If you normally go to the gym four times a week, maybe start by going just twice. Then, as your motivation, desire, and fitness begin to increase, you can increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts.
Sometimes goals can be very helpful. You might want to lose a certain amount of weight, gain a certain amount of muscle, or just get on the treadmill three times a week. Whatever it is, setting goals may help to keep you motivated and get back on track after a lull.
These goals don’t have to be permanent or long term, but can simply be a means of re-establishing habits. Goals can be especially important after taking a break from exercise. They give us a reason to get into the gym and start working. And, more importantly, they give us targets to aim for, making us less likely to quit in the beginning.
The trick, however, is to make sure that your goals are realistic, achievable, and enjoyable to pursue. Be certain, however, to combine goal-setting with going slow. Just as suggested above, begin with easy-going and approachable goals. Then, as and when required, you can stretch and expand them.
Book a class
Exercise classes are brilliant for accountability. Taking part in group exercise means that your absence will be noticed. So it’s harder to justify a day off. Also, going online and signing up for a class has a concrete feeling about it. You’ve committed (and paid).
Even if you don’t normally attend classes, they’re a very good option for a workout reboot. You could even take one or two per week for the first month before settling back into your regular routine. Either way, and whatever the reason, there’s really nothing like a good old-fashioned fitness class to kick start your New Year!
Do what feels good
When it comes to exercise, it’s so important to do what feels good for your mind and body. All too often we can try to force ourselves into a workout regime that we think is good for us. But the reality is that if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then you won’t keep it up. So if walking makes you feel great, then walk. If you prefer yoga over Pilates, then do yoga.
It sounds so simple, and in the end it really is. Just do what makes you feel good!
Don’t take it too seriously
Another important point is not to take your exercise routine too seriously. When we take ourselves too seriously we tend to be much harder on ourselves when things don’t go as planned. Maybe you didn’t lose as much weight this week as you’d hoped, or maybe you didn’t run as far and as fast as you’d have liked. But in the end, so what? What matters is that you’re making the effort, and in the end that effort will always pay off.
So as important as it can be to make a plan and set goals and hold yourself accountable, it’s just as important to take it all with a pinch of salt. Life’s too short to beat ourselves up over the little things. Just remember: above all else, exercise should be fun.
Remind yourself why you started exercising in the first place
Whenever your struggling to get back into the swing of things, or are feeling particularly demotivated, it can be helpful to remind yourself why you like to exercise. Perhaps it makes you feel good, or you enjoy the feeling of hitting your goals. Maybe it keeps you feeling vibrant and energetic, or maybe you just find it fun.
Whatever your reason for exercising, keep it in the front of your mind. Remember how good it feels to be active, and consider how much better you feel in general when fitness is part of your life.
If you’re ready to get back to it, then why not start by taking a look at our class timetables. There’s something there for everyone, and we’d love to see you soon!