It can be extremely tempting to give up on our fitness goals after a while. Either it's too cold, or we're too tired, or we don't have time...the reasons seem to be endless. Even when we've resolved to get into shape, most of us are back to lounging on the sofa within a few short weeks.
So we've put together some tips for sticking with fitness goals so that you can stay off the couch, at least till the end of the day when it's chill-out time!
Work towards your goals one day at a time
Your end goals might seem a long way away, so the best way to stick to your routine is to focus on one day at a time. If you're endlessly comparing yourself to how you want to be at the end of six months or a year, you're more likely to get discouraged.
Celebrate each step along the way, each day of exercise. Every time you do what most people don't do, you can be your own cheerleader. Your brain will take that coaching to heart, and you will be more likely to stick to your routine.
Avoid the 'all or nothing' way of thinking
Most of us tend to think that it's a full workout or nothing. But if you focus on getting to where you need to be to work out and doing what you can do that day, you'll be happier in the long run.
If you beat yourself up because you're running late and you couldn't do your full plan of 60 minutes of fat-burning exercise at 6 am, do what you can. Don't be hard on yourself, and know that it's a journey and it's OK to fall off the wagon from time to time.
It's better to do ten minutes of something than nothing at all because once you give up, discouragement will set in as well as overwhelm. Before you know it, your fitness goals will be put in the past.
The key to success with a fitness routine is consistency over long periods - years, actually. Congratulate yourself for each and every step you take towards a fitness routine - 5 minutes today is more than you were doing before starting your fitness plan.
Set modest goals and work towards them slowly
If you haven't been working out, it doesn't make sense to start exercising five times a week suddenly. Go for two or three times per week to begin with, and then increase your goals slowly.
As you get stronger, add in an extra day each week. To make the biggest changes, aim for eventually working out 3 to 5 days a week.
On difficult days, start with something easy
No one is fully motivated every single day to work out. If you're struggling to get motivated, do a longer warm-up, for instance. Then build it up from there. If you usually run for 20 minutes, tell yourself that you'll do 2 minutes and then check how you're feeling. If you are up to it, run for another minute, and so on. This step-by-step process builds confidence in your abilities.
Find activities you enjoy
Improving your fitness shouldn't be about torturing yourself, so choose activities that you enjoy. Try spinning classes, running, skating, pilates, yoga, free weights, dance, etc. When you hit upon a few activities that you love, go for those.
Find ways to switch things up
Once you've been doing the same activity for a while, you want to incorporate some variety. One way that you can easily switch things up is by incorporating resistance bands.
For example, there are many yoga poses you can do with resistance bands like the ones at https://victoremgear.com/products/hip-circle that enable you to work on strength and balance at the same time.
Resistance bands also combine well with free weights or bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups, etc.
If you are aiming for weight loss and toning, do alternate cardio and weight training workouts. For example, do two days of cardio for three days of weight training.
Find a workout buddy
Find someone who also wants to get fit so that you can do it together. Having someone that you are accountable to will motivate you to show up when you say you will. It's also much more fun working out with a partner, so you'll be more likely to keep up your fitness schedule.
Speaking of a schedule, put your workouts in your diary. Treat them like work appointments - not to be skipped.
Go easy on yourself and enjoy the ride
Remember to enjoy the journey - fitness is a lifetime habit, not a temporary fix. You'll always want to keep fit, so focus on your fitness routine as a process. There's no destination since you never 'arrive' - there's just staying in shape and enjoying the feel of your body working out.