“I used to cry but now I sweat.” – Adele
The easiest part of working out is convincing yourself that it’s okay not to. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done that. Dutifully packing your sneakers into your gym bag the night before, determinedly setting the alarm for 6 am, meticulously calculating how many minutes you’ll spend on the treadmill, secretly dreading those minutes, and then – come 6 am the next morning – muttering a swear word as your alarm goes off, disabling snooze, and going back to sleep.
Many people – especially models – talk about how they love getting their sweat on at the gym, or on the jogging track, or – ironically – in the pool. This can puzzle people who hate workouts and who wait, month after month, to fall in love with running ten miles before work. Here’s the bad news: You may never fall in love with working out. But there’s also good news. You don’t need to love your workout to stick with it.
Ultimately, however, we all need some kind of motivation to accomplish things we don’t enjoy. Here’s a collection of tips that will motivate you to keep exercising, even when you’re tempted not to.
1. It’s not about getting thinner. It’s about getting fitter.
The problem with exercise is results take weeks, sometimes months, to show. So when you’ve been busting your butt off for ten days in a row and those jeans feel just as tight as they did before, it’s easy to get disheartened. So instead of writing down, “My goal is to fit into my college jeans in six weeks,” try a different approach. Maybe your goal is to be able to do twenty push ups in a month. Or to run without stopping for three minutes flat. Focusing on goals like those will help you work towards them; your progress will be tangible and your routine will be easier to stick to.
2. Create a buddy system – even if you work out alone.
Studies have shown that people tend to stay motivated more easily if they work out with a buddy. But what if your BFF lives far away? Or if a colleague doesn’t enjoy doing the same workout you do? You can still create a system where you and your exercise partner work out separately, but track your results together. A shared private fitness board on Pinterest or a private chat group where you can document your progress and support each other will do more than enough to keep you sticking to your routine.
3. Have a plan for busy days
Let’s be realistic. If you’re like most people, you won’t have the time to devote at least an hour each day to exercise. Some days are going to be way more rushed than others. To make sure you don’t fall off the wagon, set aside short routines for those times you don’t have much time. A 15 minute no-equipment exercise video, five minutes with a jump rope, an eight minute plank session…these are all ways to squeeze effective exercise into short spans of time.
4. Mix things up
If you feel yourself getting bored with your current workout, maybe it’s time for a change. Many trainers agree that mixing up your exercise routine is a great way to avoid that dreaded weight loss plateau. Are you a runner? Try going for a swim instead. If you’re feeling too tired to do an intense gym session, throw a bit of invigorating pilates into your routine. Don’t be afraid to try new workouts and you won’t get fed up with the old ones. The truth is, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself motivated. Some can be as simple as creating a new workout playlist. Or signing up for a gym class. Or setting yourself a new goal. It’s easy to give up on working out. But when you feel like quitting, think about why you started. You’ll find you won’t want to stop.