How do I get motivated?
You’ve made the decision that you need to improve your health and fitness – step one done! But it’s the next step that’s the hardest – actually getting started. You can tell yourself ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ as many times as you want, but you’re simply not going to get any closer to your goal unless you actually START. So how do you start? What can you do to motivate yourself to get your butt into those tight leggings and get active?
I know it’s not easy, particularly in winter when it’s colder, wetter, darker, but there are ways to get yourself going:
Set a goal – this is a really important task as this is ultimately why you’re wanting to get started. Having a goal firmly in your mind, will really help you along the way. If you wake up and simply can’t be bothered, just think about that goal and how you’d feel if you didn’t get there. Hopefully that will encourage you to get going and keep you focused. Pop it on a post-it note on the fridge so you see it all the time! And, make it a SMART goal!
Get support from friends and family – making changes to your lifestyle is hard if no one else in your immediate life is on board with it. Trying to enjoy a healthy salad when your partner is tucking into a pizza, is going to make things really hard. Get them to help encourage you and spur you on. Tell them that they need to push you out the door even if you’re moaning about being too tired.
Start small – don’t go crazy with your plans. Don’t jump straight into exercising every day of the week, or rising at 5am to start a workout. Doing it this way you’ll burn out pretty quick and you’ll end up resenting what you have to do and ultimately this will lead to quitting. So take baby steps – maybe start with a 5 minute workout each day, or a slightly longer one, but done just once or twice. Play around with what works for you.
Find something you enjoy doing – don’t force yourself to go out running if that doesn’t excite you. There are so many sports/ classes that you can do, that it’s worth trying a few and seeing what it is that you like. Having something you enjoy is going to make you stick at it longer than something you’re just doing because you think you should.
Celebrate your successes no matter their size – yes, your goal may be to drop a dress size, but don’t just celebrate the fat loss, also celebrate the improvements to strength, to cardio vascular ability, to flexibility etc. You may start by only being able to do 1 press up, but if a few weeks in your strength has improved so that you can do 10, celebrate that – that is a great milestone and this will all help towards your overall goal. Progress is great and if you can see the changes and acknowledge them then that will give you the impetus to keep going. So, do some tests*/measurements at the start and then re-test at certain intervals (I would suggest every 6-8 weeks)
Think about the benefits and get positive – don’t think about it being hard (it quite probably will be), but think about how you’ll feel after you’ve done it – more energy or a sense of achievement. Negative talk won’t help you so just tell yourself you can do it!
Go out and get em!!
Tests you could do:
Take your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile at a moderate pace
Time how long it takes to walk 1 mile or 400 meters, or how long it takes to run 1.5 miles
How many crunches can you do in a minute (or until your form goes)?
How many press ups can you do in a minute (or until your form goes)? You could do this as a box, half or full press up but make sure you test yourself doing the same one next time
How long can you hold a plank?
How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
How wide can you stretch your legs out while seated – more or less than 90 degrees for example
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