You did it–you began exercising! You started a fitness routine and you’re sticking with it, but your motivation is starting to fade. Unfortunately, this is common; as you start meeting your goals and enter the maintenance phase, the incentive to exercise isn’t as strong. If you’re struggling to get it back and looking for ways to feel that same enthusiasm, try these strategies to stay motivated.
Reigniting your motivation to exercise starts within you. Intrinsic motivation, or your own personal desire, trumps external motivation. Plain and simple: if you don’t want to do it, you’re not going to do it. Consider the following questions to help drive your desire:
- How might exercising lead to benefiting me in the future?
- How might not exercising lead to problems I could face in the future?
- What are the three best reasons for me to exercise?
Visualize it. You already are on your way to reaching your goals. You may have already observed improvements from exercise. Perhaps your energy is better, your clothes fit more comfortably, you feel confident, and/or you’re sleeping better. Imagine how much better you could feel by maintaining your exercise routine. Feeling this sense of accomplishment and “seeing” the outcome can be a powerful motivator. Now consider the opposite: could you imagine going back to how you felt before exercise?
Write it down! Writing down your goals is can help you follow through and make a commitment to yourself. Post your goals where you will see them frequently. This constant reminder can increase motivation. Write down positive thoughts related to your goals, too. For example, “I exercise because I feel good about myself when I do, and I have more energy.”
Track your goals. Using apps such as MyFitnessPal, Argus and MapMyFitness can help you monitor your progress. Through the apps you can set goals, record your activity and analyze your progress. They also help to identify trends in your exercise, allowing you to notice times when you do really well and instances where you could improve. Knowing your shortcomings can help with follow-through and increase your motivation.
Check out this link for more apps that can help you track progress and stay motivated: Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2015
Reward yourself. Although the health benefits of exercise are rewarding on their own, sometimes treating yourself can be a powerful motivator. Consider giving yourself rewards like new sneakers, lunch with a friend, a manicure, a new outfit, a book, or any other small treat that will help keep you motivated to exercise.
Reward yourself after continuously meeting your goals. Mark your calendar every time you meet your goal or track your progress on the aforementioned apps. If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness program, you can also track your progress on your wellness website.
Reframe your thoughts. How you think and what you say to yourself and others influences your motivation. Turn a negative thought into a positive one. Here’s an example:
Negative thought: I do not have time to exercise.
Reframed into a positive thought: I can fit in 20 minutes of walking during lunch.
Try something new. It is common for motivation to wane if you’ve been doing the same workout for a while. This is because your body may become efficient in the exercise, so you will no longer experience the same calorie burn, toning or muscle development. Now’s the time to switch it up–for example, if you’ve been jogging the same route, pick a new one. Switch from the treadmill to the elliptical, take a new fitness class, start swimming, try yoga…the possibilities are endless!
Give back by exercising. Helping others can make you feel good too, which may increase your motivation. Charity Miles is a free app that will make donations on your behalf as you exercise. The app will track your exercise, and for every mile you walk, run or bike, a donation will be made to a charity of your choice. The more you exercise, the greater the donation. Check out their website for more information: Charity Miles
Seek support. Having the support of others is also important. Find a buddy to exercise with, or share your goals with a friend or coworker. Having accountability from others can help you with follow-through.
Looking for additional accountability? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching Program, call us today to connect with a Wellness Coach for more support and motivation!