At this point we’re about a quarter way through the new year and chances are that you’ve already begun your fitness journey. If you’re like most people, getting started was the easy part. You rang in the new year with a clear motivation to get in shape and be healthy by summer. You likely joined a gym or started an exercise routine at home and went full throttle for a couple of months. However, the hard part is right ahead of you – maintaining that gusto for the long haul!
Below you’ll find four tips to help you maintain your exercise routine and stay disciplined while working out! And trust me, these tips are far more than lip service. They are tried and trusted techniques that even I use to stick to my exercise routine.
Figure out why you’re working out in the first place
The easiest way to stay motivated for anything in life is knowing, and connecting with, your “why”. This is as true for workout routines as it is for jobs and hobbies. If you understand why you’re working out, why you made the decision to get started, and what you hope to achieve both long and short-term, you’ll be more likely to stick to a plan.
So, let’s think about this. Did you start working out because of a health diagnosis? Is it because you feel less confident in your own skin? Maybe you’re trying to get into shape for an important event or an upcoming vacation, or maybe you’re struggling to keep up with your children or grandchildren and need to get some pep back in your step. Whatever your why is, stay focused on it. Put pictures of your goals where you can see them every day. Buy an outfit that you love one size smaller and hang it where it’s visible. Look at pictures of that vacation destination and imagine being beach confident.
Another important thing to remember is that it truly has to be YOUR why to work long-term. If you’re doing it solely to please someone else, you’ll likely lose focus or find the negative pressure of it all incredibly demotivating.
Prioritize your workouts
Whether you’re starting or maintaining an exercise routine, making it a priority is imperative to your success. Look at it this way, you schedule meetings, doctor’s appointments, date nights, girls’ nights, and even play dates all in an effort to ensure you have time locked down to make this event happen. Why not do the same thing for your workouts?
If you’re a morning person, set the alarm for the same time every day and react to it like you would a business meeting. If you had to be at work by 5:00 a.m. you’d find the motivation to get up and be there right? Whether it’s early morning, lunch time or evening, let people know about your workout schedule and make it clear that aside from emergency situations, this time is blocked and non-negotiable. If you’re someone with an ever-changing schedule, look at your schedule one day in advance and plan your workouts around that day’s events. Think of it this way, a scheduled appointment is like a promise. A promise to show up, be on time, and be ready to roll. You spend your entire day keeping these promises to other people. Why not try keeping a promise to yourself for once?
Don’t try to rush results
You’ve likely heard the term, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” right? Well, guess what? Neither is an amazing body. There are so many variables that can play a part in how quickly your exercise routine works. Factors such as your age, your sex, your hormones, the amount of sleep you get each night, your alcohol consumption, your stress levels, and of course, your diet can all play a part in your success or demise.
If you’re someone who has 30+ pounds to lose, think about the amount of time it took you to gain that weight. So, if it took time to put the weight on, it’s definitely going to take time to lose it. For someone who has less than 20 pounds to lose, getting rid of only 1-2 pounds a week is probably enough for you. However, for those who have a longer journey, sweating your way to only a 1-2 pound loss each week can feel very discouraging. Don’t let the scale get to you! Keep steady on your course and you will get there. If you find the scale is a mental deterrent, then toss it! I always say that taking measurements is a clearer view of your results any way. The scale can vary too much and for many people, can be a psychological nightmare. Keep your diet clean and stay with your fitness routine and I swear, each and every week you’ll see little changes that over time will help create a brand new you!
Don’t give up
This is probably the most important tip to maintain your fitness routine – don’t give up on it! It is true that along your fitness journey you may have to make certain tweaks to your program and increase intensity, add weight training, or do something different to bust out of plateaus. However, if you give up entirely, you’re never going to get there.
Think about it, everything worth having in life takes dedication. Getting your degree, being a parent, being a boss, heck, even being a good person takes work . Your fitness routine is no different. If you want to see change, whether that’s weight loss, tone, or muscle gain, it’s not going to come without work. If you need to take a day off that’s totally fine. If you need to trade in your grilled chicken for some pizza or brownies for a day, go for it! Take little breaks from it all when you need it, but remember, a break is a temporary thing. One meal, one day – not weeks and months. You’re doing this for YOU. You’re doing this to improve your health, your life, or at the very least, your confidence. So, no matter what, don’t give up on yourself!