Most of us find it challenging to stick to a workout routine long enough for it to become a habit. Distractions surround us, and any excuse to stay inactive is valid when there’s no genuine commitment to exercising and leading a healthier lifestyle.
So, how do we maintain the motivation to pinpoint our goals and work toward achieving them?
Here, you’ll find five tips to improve your determination and embrace the discipline needed to become the best version of yourself.
1. FOCUS ON THE SHORT-TERM
The actual benefits of physical activity are shown in the long term, but studies suggest that focusing on more immediate achievements is better to keep motivation high. You are more likely to stick to an exercise routine when you concentrate on the sensations you get right after the activity. Thinking about the benefits, it could bring you in the distant future is not that motivating.
The trick is to pinpoint which specific benefit are you pursuing. Do you want to improve your mood, fall asleep faster at night, or lose a few pounds? The gratification you get while focusing on the right kind of reward can set you on the path toward a more exceptional quality of life.
2. WRITE DOWN A WORKOUT SCHEDULE
Sometimes you are not going to be able to stick to it, and that’s normal. Unexpected things can pop up anytime during the day. Just try to treat exercise like an important meeting you can’t avoid.
Everyone’s day looks different, so you just have to find the right moment (a realistic one!) to train. If you usually get back from work feeling energy-depleted, you probably should schedule morning workouts. It’s all about being sincere with yourself and committing to a plan that fits as smoothly as possible within your other daily activities.
3. FIND A TRAINING PARTNER
Having a workout buddy can definitively make the whole experience more enjoyable, and will make us more accountable for our performance. Partners tend to push each other, increasing the effort put into the physical activity. This is known as the Kohler Effect: people tend to work harder when they are with someone.
It’s important to find allies that can help you feel your best. According to a 2012 study from Kansas State University, people who train with a partner they thought were in better shape boosted their workout time and intensity by 200%! Having a friend to compete against functions as a real motivator, so find your buddy and boost your routine.
4. DO SHORTER ROUTINES
Life can get pretty busy these days, and lacking time to exercise is one of the main reasons for not sticking with a steady routine. Many assume that to get all the benefits of working out, you must exercise for an hour or more, but actually, there’s evidence suggesting that short workouts are more effective than longer ones.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise defined by intense bursts of physical activity followed by short recovery periods. This kind of training burns calories at a higher rate, and it also can increase metabolism and improve cardiovascular health.
Additionally, HIIT usually does not require equipment so you can train anywhere you like, making it easier to stick to a training schedule.
5. HAVE FUN!
Let’s face it: not many people think that exercising is a fun activity. Luckily, several options can help make your workout more enjoyable. There are fitness apps that turn your routine into an actual game; podcasts, audiobooks, movies, tv-series… all of these can add entertainment to your routine.
And then, there’s also music. Many pieces of research have shown that listening to music while training can enhance the experience and even make you more likely to stick to your schedule.
In the end, motivation can develop as you go, so start working out and very soon you’ll begin to enjoy the road to your best self.
Ready. Set. Go!