I will just go ahead and admit that my relationship with exercise has always been a little complicated. I always knew that I should be working out. Sadly, more than often, the weight of my excuses was heavier than my motivation, and I ended up giving in to my reasons. I was not too fond of how I felt about my body or felt inside my body. I got SO SICK OF MYSELF and my excuses that I had to do something about it.
I had to do something about it. I had to find a way, make a plan and get myself going, even if it meant making some sacrifices in my life. I had to do it. I didn’t want another month to go by. I didn’t want to look back and still be in the same state or worse.
And that’s when it all changed for me.
It was clear that it wasn’t going to be easy to find the motivation to keep working out. This was the most challenging bit, but I found some fitness tricks that helped me going.
Am I proud of myself?
Is my journey complete?
Not even close. I have realized that complacency and overthinking can be the most damaging to my ability to get myself out the door and exercise.
If you have been struggling to stay motivated, read through to find your motivation.
Step 1 - Understanding Your Reasons
One of the first things you should understand is why you want to start working out. Write it all down - what you feel about yourself and what you would like to change. Once you know why and understand what it means to you, coming back to this will help you know why you started this journey in the first place.
Another question you should ask yourself is that are you making the best use of your time? Are you doing some things that aren’t worth it, and time could be better spent working on yourself?
What are the habits that you can give up? Think about not only some habits you have around food, but also mental habits you have too. Do you think badly about yourself, do you tell yourself you shouldn’t try, do you have fear, do you pick up your phone rather than be alone for even a few seconds? These things are essential to notice as they are all unconscious ways you choose your current situation.
When you’ve answered all of these questions, the answers you give yourself with all honesty are going to pull you through when you are looking to make significant changes in your life. The more brutal you are with your honesty, the more powerful it will be for you.
Step 2 - Set Realistic Expectations
A mistake that I myself was guilty of making was setting unrealistic goals for myself. I found out the hard way that you cannot expect to have your dream body or mind overnight. Asking too much of yourself will only lead to failure. It looks like this: The first week was so good - you cut out all sugar, you didn’t have any alcohol, and you went to the gym every day, and you packed your lunch - The weekend hits, and you reward yourself, you eat it all, and then Monday rolls around, and you talk yourself out of going to the gym because you did so well last week, then the end of the week hits again, and you have been sneaky with sugar…. It’s all part of how quickly we fail if we set too many expectations in the beginning. We are intelligent, complex beings, and we will sabotage our own goals if we are not careful.
So my advice to you is to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. Start small, even if it means that you can work out only 10 minutes 2-3 times a week. Aim to do it consistently, and once you’re there, you can start to build up. I used to go for a walk with my dog, instead of a stroll with a morning coffee or an evening wine - yes, people, that was me - I started challenging myself to make it count by doing a couple of blocks, then the next time I would do add another one on. Then I would add some running from driveway to driveway, then lamp post to lamp post, then street to street. Slowly over time, I ended up running 40 mins pretty easily.
It took time, and starting small and building up was the key.
The aim should always be to keep going for small goals and victories - something you can achieve easily and move on to your next goal.
Step 3 - Find Out What Works For You
There are many fitness tricks, workouts, diet plans and routines out there. However, this does not mean that if you try anything - it will work for you.
Yes, it might have an impact, but if you really want to make the most of whatever you do, you will have to do a bit of experimenting.
You will have to find the right workouts - those that work the best for you.
You will have to find the right way of eating that works for you - something that is good for your body’s overall health and makes your body feel good on the inside.
You will have to find a routine that suits you best, your workout timings, whether you should be exercising in the morning or evening. Should you opt for a gym or focus on bodyweight exercises at home.
It’s all about finding the right combination and, once you do, making the most of it.
Step 4 - Positive Reinforcements
The good thing about exercise is that eventually, you will start to see the results you’ve always wanted to see in your body, but exercise also helps our mind, and it does that on day one.
For some people that is not enough. These people need positive reinforcements to keep them going - sort of like the bonus a hard-working employee is looking forward to at the end of the month.
Let me tell you; it’s okay to reward yourself. Now, this does not mean that you go overboard and start treating yourself to all the bad things you are working on to get out of your life. What I mean is that you reward yourself with something small, a treat - sort of like a cheat meal or a massage after achieving each of the goals you have set for yourself. Just don’t go overboard!
Step 5 - Accountability Always
Even though this is your journey, and you might not want to make it public, it helps to have others in on it with us to adopt a healthier lifestyle. There’s research that supports the notion that fitness goals and promises made in front of other people are more likely to be kept. We want to maintain the positive image other people have of us by staying faithful to our promises, and therefore we can use this accountability to our advantage. Please talk about your new goals, ask friends to check in with you on it, or even better, find someone who wants to change their habits alongside you.
Changing isn’t easy, but if you do take one small step each day, then after 30 days, you will have moved!