Everyone has the best intentions, especially when you’re at the beginning stages of goal setting – you’re going to get healthy, exercise regularly and soon feel fit and fabulous!
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep that motivation and focus up, and your enthusiasm may begin to fade a little. If this sounds familiar then don’t worry – we’ve got some great tips to help you stay motivated to keep active and better still, to actually enjoy doing so!
- Don’t set yourself up for failure
Staying active is a lifestyle choice and not a short-term goal. It’s tempting to set too many targets in the early days, so be kind to yourself and be realistic in what you want to achieve. Whether it’s managing your weight, increasing your fitness or glowing skin – keeping active will help but it will take time. Set mini-goals instead and…
- Celebrate your successes, no matter how small
Staying active is a continual process and every accomplishment should be celebrated. If you have achieved something you were unable to do previously, then well done! Feel proud, don’t worry about the people around you and focus on your own journey.
- ‘When’ are you going to exercise, not ‘how often’.
‘I’m going to exercise three times a week’ is not a schedule, it’s a statement. If you set your alarm early each morning and then roll back over because you’re comfy, warm and ‘will do it tomorrow’ then the days start merging and before you know it, you don’t have enough tomorrows left to hit your fitness goals. That’s why you need to create a schedule. Commit to when, specifically, you are going to exercise and treat the appointment as if it were a business meeting that you just have to attend – no excuses allowed. However…
- Don’t feel guilty for not exercising
You need rest days! No self-respecting athlete would ever endorse a training schedule that doesn’t include time for rest and recovery, so if they won’t, why would you? Downtime allows your hard-worked body to repair and come back stronger than it was before. If you don’t give it this chance then you’ll eventually exhaust yourself to the point where exercise is something that you dread, rather than the endorphin-filled rush that it can and should be. Not to mention you’ll be running a greater risk of injury!
- About those endorphins…
They’re the ‘happy chemicals’ your body releases that make you feel warm – and exercising is a guaranteed way to release them! Endorphins trigger electrical signals that tell your nervous system to ‘feel good’ and they dull our pain perception too. This natural high that comes from staying fit helps keep us on track by lowering our stress levels, diminishing negative thoughts and making us feel generally good. The more you experience them, the more you will want, so over time it will become easier to stick to your fitness routine.
- Make yourself accountable
If you don’t tell anyone your goals, there’s no one to make sure you stay on track. Tell friends, family and colleagues your fitness plans or better still, ask them if they would like to join you. An extra person often makes the experience more fun and it makes it harder to pull out at the last moment.
- Change it up occasionally
It’s fine to have your favourite sport or your favourite fitness class, but we all get tired if nothing changes occasionally. Your body will notice too and won’t find the same activities as challenging as it once did. Try to mix it up with something new that challenges different muscle groups and makes you work a little harder. Throw in the occasional swim, go out for a stroll or pick up a tennis racket. The more ways you can keep your body active, the better!
- Listen to all the music you want!
Putting on the radio has been shown to motivate us to get moving, and to increase endurance by up to 15%, according to a study from Brunel University School of Sport and Education.
A healthy lifestyle is an ongoing process, but even if you start dreading it, once the endorphins kick in and the physical and mental effects of exercise start to show, you’ll soon start feeling more motivated and passionate about the newer, fitter you. Good luck and be sure to enjoy the process!