Sure fire ways to motivate yourself to get fitter
Here’s a simple fact about starting a fitness regime; at some point you’ll struggle for motivation. Don’t feel bad. It happens to everyone. Even the best athletes in the world have days when they’d really, really rather pull the doona back over their heads. The trick is to accept that it’s going to happen and plan for it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor your healthier body. Getting fitter takes a decent investment of time and effort, so it’s natural you want to see results ASAP. Setting some targets along the way is a great way to keep your spirits up, but beware the pitfalls. Make your goals realistic or they may backfire on you. One way is to make them action oriented rather than outcome oriented, for example ‘walk 60 minutes a week’ or ‘run 5kms in 30mins’, rather than ‘lose 5kg’.
Another tip is to set an ongoing end goal, such as join a running club or walking group, which is all about making your healthy lifestyle a habit rather than a one-off. See all our tips on setting goals and make a plan with our food and fitness planner.
Chart your progress
If there’s one thing that’s changed in the fitness world in the last five years it’s data. These days you can track your distance, weight, intensity, effort, the shade of red your face goes… just about everything. So use this to your advantage. Just as continually hitting your goals is continually motivating, so is seeing progress. If you’re realistic in your expectations and stay positive during the flat periods.
Phone a friend
Countless studies have shown that exercising with a friend or in a group significantly helps with motivation, both during a session and over time. This might explain the growing number of people that gather in brightly coloured workout gear in Queensland parks every weekday morning as the sun rises. Well, they’re onto something, and if you want more motivation maybe it’s something you can try. Think of a friend or find a group that matches what you want to achieve and go for it.
Exercise and music; they’ve gone together even longer than exercise and lycra. And with good reason. Numerous studies have found that listening to music while doing physical activity helps with motivation, distraction and sticking with a program. So stick that in your walkman and play it.
Mix it up
‘Cross training’ has been around since the 80’s, but even before it was a word, it was a thing. Since Greek times athletes have mixed up their training, maybe in the search for an athletic edge, The exciting thing is that it can work for you too. If you’re facing a motivational slump, why not try something new? Join a touch footy team or swim some laps, do some hiking or try a circuit class. Even if it doesn’t last, it gives you a fresh perspective on your training.
Set some little treats to reward yourself for sticking with it. The best way to do it is to make them rewards for actions rather than for outcomes; a new pair of shoes for your fifth week of group fitness, a gold class movie ticket for hitting 5km on the rowing machine.
These are just a few things to help you keep the fit fires burning. The key is to try different strategies and find what works for you. Just remember, slip ups do happen, it’s how you deal with them that matters. Don’t throw out all that good work just because you miss a day or two.