Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ways to Stay Motivated!

 To stick with an exercise routine, you need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, "Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut."
And just knowing that exercise is good for you doesn't seem to be enough to get you moving. Here are some ways to help you stay motivated when your courage is waning and you don't really feel like putting on the work out duds and sweating to the oldies. 

Be Realistic - First time exercisers tend to make the mistake of being overly ambitious with their goals and expectations. Instead of telling yourself that you want to exercise an hour a day five days a week, start with 1/2 a day three times a week, or ten minute walks two times a day. Just doing more than you are doing right now is an improvement!

Don't Expect Perfection- Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at things. This kind of thinking can cause you to miss a day and then give up all together. If you prepare for some sidesteps on your journey you won't be so mentally disappointed when there are setbacks.

Keep Track of Your Progress- Whether you decide to go high tech or keep in old school, keep track of your progress. Are you getting faster, doing more reps, able to lift more weight? You will be more likely to stick with it when you are able to see the improvement you are making.

Don't Compare Yourself to Others- This is no one's journey but your own. Don't let other people's lifestyles and choices prevent you from benefiting from the changes a healthy lifestyle can bring to you. Don't let others deter you from your goals.

Find the Fun in It. - As children exercise was just play, it can still be that way for us as adults. Find an activity you enjoy. There has been an explosion of classes at gyms, if you are aren't the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or up and down the stairs in your house. Get out and play with your kids or your pets. Do something you enjoy.

Get Support - Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies -- anyone who will encourage you to stay on track. But remember they are suppose to be a help, no nagging allowed. 

Break it Up- If you can't find an hour (or even a half hour) to give yourself time to exercise, break it up into smaller increments and do 3 sessions of 20 minutes, or take 3 ten minute walks. Studies have shown that these mini workouts can be just as effective as doing it all at once.

Make it Convenient - Make this work for you. If you are too tired at the end of the day to workout, set your alarm a little bit early and do it in the morning. If you are pressed for time, don't spend extra minutes driving to the gym - do exercise videos at home. These are changes you are making for yourself and the more convenient you can make it, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Forget the Past - You are no longer in high school trying out for the cheerleading squad or trying to run a mile in p.e. Let the past go, if you weren't the best athlete then that doesn't matter at all now. Let those feelings go, forgive and forget and give these changes to yourself as a gift.

Reward Yourself. - But not with food! If you stick with it for a month, but yourself a new workout outfit, tickets to a movie or perhaps some flowers. Try a reward that supports your new mind-body connection. This will help you to savor the rewards of your hard work.