The most popular times during the year for people to start getting in shape seems to be January and March: January because working out is nearly everyone’s New Year’s Resolution, and March is when everyone is trying to get their beach bodies back by the time spring break rolls around. Yet, it seems people just don’t seem to stick with it for very long (looking at you, Resolutioners).
Working out is not hard at all. The hard part, however, is staying motivated to keep working out and stay healthy. I believe that I have found some loopholes that can keep you motivated all year round.
1. Get a routine
If you’re living in consistency and routine, it’ll be easier for you to stay on task and focused. Repetition is key because once you make it part of your daily routine, you’ll do it just like clockwork without a second thought.
2. Turn the “I can’t” and “I want” into “I will”
Whenever you catch yourself saying “I can’t run a mile,” say “I will run a mile.” Instead of saying “I want to lose 10 pounds,” say “I will lose 10 pounds.” Saying “want” acknowledges that the desire is there, but saying “will” instead puts that desire into action and creates a responsibility that you have to fulfill.
3. Find a friend
There’s strength in numbers, and being healthy is no exception. When you have a friend who wants be fit and healthy as well, it’s easier to control your urges and be consistent when actually working out. Many people claim that their own health is motivation enough, but it’s a lot easier to let yourself down than it is to disappoint someone else who is counting on you. Hold each other accountable!
4. Visualize food as energy
When choosing which food to eat, it helps immensely to visualize food as the energy it gives you. Would you rather snack on something that makes you feel alive and gives you a boost (an apple), or one that makes you feel sleepy, crappy, and almost like you could unbutton your pants (m&m’s)? If you picture your intake as good energy or bad energy, it’ll help you make better decisions when it comes to diet and nutrition.
5. Channel negative energy into a good workout
If you’re like me, you’re always finding any excuse to skip the gym. One of the ones I always try to get away with is “but I’ve had a bad day.” Bzzzzzzz. Wrong answer. Hitting the gym after a rough day is incredibly therapeutic! I usually like to run my rage out on the treadmill or climb the anger away on the StairMaster. Channel all of that negative energy into your workout and you’ll get one hell of a workout. I leave feeling happier and refreshed.
6. Do what you think you can do, and then go a little bit further
If you think you can do 3 minutes on the StairMaster, do that – and then do an extra 30 seconds or minute. Don’t push yourself to the point of passing out, but nudge yourself a little bit further every day.
7. Get a calendar and visually track your progress
Buy a wall calendar and put it in a place you can see it – whether it’s on your fridge, by your bedroom mirror, or on the back of the front door. For every day you work out, color the day in with a Sharpie. Seeing those blocks colored in will toss some motivation your way to keep going.
8. Have a cheat day once in awhile
I don’t mean go full-on Homer Simpson once a month, but definitely cheat a little and enjoy a burger from McDonald’s or skip a day or two at the gym without feeling bad about it. You’ll go insane if you don’t! Just don’t get too lazy with it.
If you can conquer these hacks, you can possess the power to stay motivated long enough to see some real change and results. Working out will become easier and soon you’ll be able to do things you once weren’t (taking the stairs at work, god bless). You’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll never again feel guilty for snagging an extra donut.