Are you looking to change your lifestyle? Want to get fit, lose weight, and feel great? Are you energized and motivated to start your journey?
That’s great! Getting a strong, motivated start to your new healthy lifestyle will help you a lot, but there’s more to attaining and maintaining a new lifestyle than that initial surge of motivation. That initial excitement will fade. Workouts will feel tougher. The gym will seem less appealing. You might feel bored or tired or just demotivated.
What do you do when motivation fades? The simple fact is that motivation will always fade, but there’s a lot your can do to set yourself up for success. Keep these things in mind when you set up your new routine. It will give you the best chances for success.
Find your tribe
Getting fit with the support of a community can be much easier than without that support. Has your doctor suggested that you find a workout partner? We seem to understand that working out with others is easier to keep up than working out alone. But you may be wondering: does the science back this up? Signs point to yes!
A study from the University of Aberdeen found that not only does finding a workout partner cause you to exercise more, but that it’s more important to find emotional support in a workout partner than physical presence. That means that you don’t necessarily need to coordinate schedules with other people in order to get those community workout benefits! What matters most is feeling supported.
What does this mean for you? Do you already have a supportive group of workout buddies? Whether you do or not, there’s plenty of space for new workout communities! Try joining more local workout clubs and classes to meet new people, and don’t hesitate to look for friends online.
Tame your routine
When it comes to success it’s hard to overestimate the power of habit. Becoming motivated for each individual workout can seem impossible. Motivation can be a fleeting force, instead of trying to motivate each day creating a consistent routine can take some of the work away from your motivational powers. Routine can step in when your motivation is lacking. When you can’t think, strategize or motivate is when you can go on routine auto-pilot and still make sure that your workouts happen.
But how do you start a healthy routine? How can you tap into the superpower that is habit to keep yourself healthy?
The easy to say but less simple to follow advice is to get started. But, before you get started there are a few important things to keep in mind. First of all is making sure that you are choosing a routine that works with your lifestyle. If you’re a late sleeper it might seem appealing to try to start a morning workout routine, but chances are you won’t be able to stick with it for long. On the other hand, if you have super busy evenings it won’t make sense to try to squeeze a trip to the gym between your different activities. If your schedule is variable try looking for slots of time that you consistently have free, whether it’s at 6am or 8pm, to try to make sure you’re working out at the same time. This makes it much easier to get into the habit.
Put yourself first
The second step to habit success is to make your fitness non-negotiable. If you are prioritizing your fitness you will find yourself turning down options and opportunities in order to make sure that you are consistently getting your workouts in. Every time you schedule your life around your workouts you are proving to yourself that fitness is one of your top priorities, which is something that will create resonating effects elsewhere in your life.
It’s not about letting yourself become a slave to the gym, but it is about thinking about what actually matters in your life. Sure, you might want to go out for drinks after work rather than heading to the gym, but is there a way to meet up with your friends after your workout? Which is more important to you, those drinks or your health? Life, in fitness as with every other aspect, is a balancing act. Cultivate balance in your fitness mentality.
Go for the goals
We’ve all heard it before: failing to plan is planning to fail. Goal setting gives you the accountability that you need to succeed at your goals for a few different reasons. One important aspect of goal-setting when it comes to getting fit is that having a concrete goal gives you a measure according to which you can assess your progress. If you haven’t created a specific goal it’s nearly impossible to really know whether or not you are making progress. In fact, without a specific goal you can’t really ever know if you succeed.
Notice the repeated word: specific. While any goal is better than no goal, when it comes to goals specificity is key. You should formulate your goals so specifically that they become plans in and of themselves. Goals need a few things to be useful: a journey, measurements, and an outcome.
Got a vague goal like improving your strength? Try envisioning your strong self. What can your strong self do? What kinds of activities does that strength enable? Can you suddenly lift large objects easily? Are you able to complete obstacle courses or acrobatic moves? Once you have a good vision of what exactly you’re trying to achieve you will find that it is easier to describe specific elements of your goals that will delineate your progress. List everything that counts toward ‘achieving’ your goals.
Watch your language
In 2018 a study from Northwestern University divided women into two groups participating in the same fitness class. The first group listened to motivation from their trainer focusing on strength and health, and the second group listened to motivation focused on body size and appearance. The researchers found that women who were motivated by their strength and health reported much better body image following the class. Women who listened to comments about shrinking or changing their bodies were much more likely to report bad thoughts and feeling about themselves. The words and thoughts you have about your fitness can make a huge difference. How do you think about your workouts?
You might be wondering what the issue is with poor body image. Maybe you use bad thoughts about your body to motivate yourself all the time. Unfortunately, these thoughts are probably doing more harm than good. Studies are beginning to show the link between body image and weight loss. The results are clear so far: better body image reduces binge eating and increases weight loss. Telling yourself “I’m going to burn away this belly fat!” may be a lot less motivating than “I work out to feel strong and fast!” When it comes to a limited resource like motivation every little bit helps. If you know that changing the words you use can help keep you motivated, why not give it a shot?
Are you ready to get started?
Time to start tracking those workouts. Download FITIV Pulse today!