How To Stay Motivated To Exercise
Set a Goal, Make it Big if You Want.
Many of us have a vague notion that we want to “get fit” but never think it through further than that. Whilst it’s a good aim, its not a specific goal and although it might get us starting that new fitness regime every January its not enough to keep us going once the novelty has worn off.
Even setting a specific goal of running a marathon, for example, isn’t enough, there is no plan about how to achieve it. Setting smaller, quickly achievable goals on the way to that big one is key to keeping that motivation going. Every time you have that internal debate about whether you fancy going exercising tonight, that goal should pop into your head and get you out of the door.
Do Something Challenging That You Enjoy
Find an exercise you enjoy but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenging while you do it! The only way to improve fitness levels is to set the body physical challenges that it has to work hard to achieve. That sense of achievement when you get to the end of the class/run/game is the motivation that will bring you back next week. If the exercise is too easy boredom will quickly set in.
Take a Friend But Make New Ones Too!
Most of us find it easier to try new things when we have a friend with us, and you can encourage each other to keep going. But don’t fall into the trap of relying on each other too much and not getting to know others. What happens if your friend decides to stop going? If you always partner each other the chances are you’ll stop going too. Make an effort to get to know others and before you know it you’ve made new friends and getting to that class becomes an important part of your social life and takes priority over mowing the lawn or visiting the in-laws!
Measure Your Progress and Celebrate Your Success
Keep reminding yourself of how well you are doing. Challenging exercise always seems hard, that’s the point! However, it’s easy to feel as if you are never getting any fitter, which can be discouraging. I would recommend taking a fitness test right at the start of your plan and retaking it at regular intervals to show how your fitness is improving. Give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself on sticking to what you planned.
Exercise for life?
What happens when you’ve reached that goal? Hopefully exercise has become such an important part of maintaining your physical and mental health that you can’t imagine giving it up, but beware of complacency!
Keep setting small goals, either individually or with your new exercise buddies, for example charity events are great ways to push yourself that bit harder and make money for a good cause at the same time.
An excellent motivation as you become a seasoned exerciser is to look after newbies! Remind yourself how tough it was for you when you started and how grateful you were for encouragement and support from others. It’ll remind you just how much fitter you are now too!
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