Exercise: How to Stay Motivated
It is about this time of year that our resolutions to be more active and make healthier choices begin to fade as the hustle and bustle of daily life starts to take over. New habits that we are trying to incorporate into our daily lives become the first things we drop or the first things we find ourselves unmotivated to do.
Here are some ways to combat the lack of motivation :
• Change your exercise routine every four to six weeks (or more frequently if needed!) by trying a new activity or changing your intensity or time.
It is beautiful in Tucson this time of year. Take advantage of the wonderful parks, hiking trails and bike paths all around town. Have you heard of Fantasy Island on the East Side? http://www.sdmb.org/trails/fantasy-island/ What about Sabino Canyon's paved hiking path to get you started? Have you seen the incredible view at the top of Tumamoc Hill?
•Write down your goals and review them daily.
With technology, we sometimes tell ourselves that we don't really need to write things down anymore, that we can put them in our phones and have them with us always, but if you are like me, I forget to look at them. Write your goals down, I find that the physical act of writing something down helps ingrain it in my mind, then place it somewhere that you look at on a daily basis; your bathroom mirror or inside your closet to read every day as you're getting dressed.
•Use photos as a visual aid, i.e., a picture of yourself at your ideal weight pasted on the refrigerator door.
If photos of yourself isn't your thing or they don't exist, find some quotes or motivational phrases that inspire you and post those places that you routinely visit or see.
•Schedule exercise as you would a business meeting, a doctor’s appointment or other non-negotiable activity.
I could certainly do better at this! I figure, I'd never cancel on a work meeting or with a client unless it was an emergency, why should I cancel on myself?!
•If you can’t get in your full exercise time, break it up into 10-minute increments. March in place while watching TV. Run up and down your stairs 20 times. Take the dog for a short walk.
Movement is movement! Get up and move. If you're at work, take a quick walk around the building (inside our outside if it's nice) when you get a chance.
•Wear a fitness tracker or use your phone to track your steps!
Challenge yourself to get in a certain amount of steps per day (experts say 10,000 per day is the average of fit people). I have found that wearing my fitness tracking watch really motivates me and gives me an accurate idea of how much (or how little) I've moved for the day. It encourages me and makes me more mindful of getting up and moving more frequently. The challenge of making a certain goal or even competing with friends is a fun way to stay motivated!
•Find an accountability buddy or group. On the days your motivation lags, your friend(s) can be your cheering section. When they’re feeling lazy, you can talk them into working out.
I guarantee that you are not the only one feeling like you could do better and be more consistent. Reach out to those that you are connected with on social media and get a group together that will keep everyone accountable! Being social AND getting some exercise in is such a wonderful combination! In the past, I've posted on social media and have always gotten a response from at least a couple friends who are in the same boat and I've explored groups that meet up locally around town (meetup.com has a lot of interest groups which include various physical activities) that have regularly occurring meetups where I was able to meet new people!
Don't over think it, start today and move! You can do it and you will feel so much better!