When making New Year’s resolutions in 2018, 45% of Americans said they wanted to lose weight or get in shape. Unfortunately, science tells us that most of these people – no matter how good their intentions – will fail by the month of February.
Consistent motivation is one of the biggest challenges for would-be workout practitioners. Where do you get motivation? How do you maintain it? And what do you do when you’re fresh out of workout mojo?
If you’re looking to keep your gym visits going through February (and the rest of the year), follow these tips and tricks to get your body and mind prepared.
Write down measurable fitness goals
There’s something about the written word that makes everything feel more lasting and official.This year, write down your fitness goals for the year in a journal. (Here are some good journal choices for writing to get you started.) Be as specific as possible and choose measurable goals. For example, don’t just write down that you want to “get swole.” How do you quantify swole? How will you know when you are sufficiently swole and/or ripped?
Choose – and write down -a quantifiable goal. “I will run a 10K race by December 2018. I will bench 250 pounds eight times. I will reduce my body fat to 22%.” Write it out, sign and date.
Now, commence your workout journal. Write a quick recap after each workout. Recap how you felt during the workout, and include your accomplishments for the day. You’ll be able to track your progress and motivate yourself when the lure of Roku and beer grows too strong.
Make a bet
Who says you shouldn’t gamble with your health? Sites like DietBet allow you to stake money on achieving weight-loss goals, such as losing 4% of your body weight or maintaining a healthy weight for 12 months.
To get started, you’ll need to join a game, where you place a bet (usually between $25 and $100) and compete with other users who are also trying to lose weight. When the weigh-out is over, the pot is divided among all the winners!.
This helps with workout motivation on two fronts. First, it gives you a community where you can share (and brag) about your results. And second, sometimes the best motivation is a full (or empty) wallet. Knowing you’ve got money on the line can be an extra incentive to get out and go to the gym. You can also create a personal version of a workout betting circle – make bets with your friends, so you can motivate each other.
Make working out as easy as possible. If you find yourself falling behind in your fitness goals, consider what’s preventing you from making the most out of your gym membership or monthly yoga pass? Do you not have enough time? Is it too much of a hassle? Does it hurt too much? Once you’ve determined the things holding you back, work proactively to remove them.
If morning motivation is an issue, for example, set yourself up for success. Start planning your workout the night before. Get to bed an hour earlier than usual. If you have trouble getting good-quality sleep, take steps to get a restorative night of rest so you’re raring to go in the morning. Put out gym clothes in the evening, so you’ll be able to grab and go in the morning. If you’re a runner and it’s just too cold to think about running, invest in warm winter running gear, or locate an indoor running track. If your muscles are achy, try solutions like an Epsom salt bath, or a massage.
Don’t give in to your excuses – work around them
Massage to maintain motivation
Injuries and pain from working out can easily snuff out your fragile fitness motivation. Maintain your muscle health with a regular massage from a licensed massage therapist. A massage can help flush out a buildup of lactic acid, and it can aid in speeding up the healing process. Sports massages are specially designed to help you recover more quickly and avoid injury. Take care of your body and give it the help it needs to kick butt each and every day.
Having trouble finding time to book that massage? Zeel offers same-day, in-home massages. That means that after a workout, you can come back to your house or apartment, unwind, and enjoy the wide variety of benefits that come with a massage – without moving yet another muscle.
Set goal, crush goal, repeat
Sometimes our motivation fizzles because we just have macro goals and not micro goals. A macro goal is something that’s difficult to obtain, requiring months or years to complete. These are often the goals that people try to set around ear: lose 50 lbs, develop an eight-pack, increase your squat max by 20%, etc.
Saying you’re going to run a marathon in a year, for instance, is a great macro goal, but to get there, make sure you have smaller micro goals – like completing a long run every week.
Acknowledge when you complete a micro goal. You can note your triumph in your calendar, or share with your friends and workout buddies.
Micro goals condition your brain to expect wins. They make your macro, BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) seem less daunting.
Find fellow fitness fanatics
If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated, search for a squad to keep you accountable. Their encouragement and (let’s be honest) occasional guilt trip are sometimes what you need to get back on the horse.
When looking for a workout partner, feel free to start with friends or coworkers. But remember that just because not everyone will be good gym company. It’s best to find people who are already committed to accomplishing similar fitness goals.
If potential workout buddies are in short supply, try out Well Squad, which matches you with potential workout partners in your area. Or seek out pre-existing groups -most neighborhoods have running groups, and spinning and yoga classes can become supportive communities.
Another pricier, but very effective, way to find a fitness ally: hire a personal trainer. Gyms will sometimes offer a free trial session so you can see if you click with your trainer. Consider a personal trainer an investment in keeping your fitness resolutions.
You can do it
Working out on a consistent basis isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. But you can do it, when you use these tips to keep you inspired and focused on the goal at hand.
Patrick Chism is a Blog Manager at Quiicken Loans, where he contributes to Quicken's Zing Blog, writing about in personal finance. See Patrick on LinkedIn.