How to Stay Motivated to Work out
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How to Stay Motivated to Work out

The hardest part of staying in shape is not being able to bench-press your body weight or do a thousand crunches.  On the contary - getting fit is all about peeling your lazy body off of the La-Z-Boy and forcing it to be active.  If you can actually get yourself to the gym, the hard part is behind you.  The key to staying motivated is having a goal with a plan of attack.

Set an attainable goal. In order to stay motivated, there must be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Determine what it is that you are trying to achieve, whether that means losing the extra baby weight or transforming that spare tire into washboard abs.  Whatever your purpose, make sure it is realistic and something that you can actually control.  Newsflash:  You cannot control how many pounds your body decides to lose this week.  What you can control is how many times you go to the gym, how many times you lift those dumbbells in your living room, and how many times you run Fido around the neighborhood.  Setting a goal that you have complete control over will keep you from getting frustrated and give you a greater chance of reaching your fitness goal!

To track your progress, divide your goals into the following three categories:

  • Short-term goals:  What do you want to accomplish in the next week?  In the next two weeks?  [Ex: Go to the gym three days this week].
  • Mid-term goals: Where do you want to be in the next few months?  [Ex: By next month, be able to run one mile without stopping].
  • Long-term goals: What is your ultimate goal?  What shape do you want to be in one year from today?  [Ex: Fit into those "skinny jeans" by Christmas].

Be realistic about your commitment. Set yourself up for success instead of the alternative.  If you are a single mom who works seventy hours a week, the last thing you want to do is commit to going to a two-hour gym session five days a week.  It is just not realistic.  Instead, open up your planner and choose three to four different times that are convenient for you that particular week.  Commit to these times and stick to them - no excuses!  If you do not have gym access, get a set of dumbbells - you can do a full body workout from home with the right combination of exercises.

Have a game plan and keep it simple. Nothing is better than walking into the gym and knowing exactly what you are going to accomplish.  For example, doing two twenty-minute weight circuits will take you no longer than forty-five minutes.  This allows you to get in and get out without it being a chore.  Sticking to a fitness routine is easy when you keep it short and simple.

Mix it up and make it fun! One of the main reasons people lose interest in working-out is sheer boredom.  If you do the exact same thing week after week, eventually you get bored and end up losing all motivation.  Each week, incorporate something fun and new into your regimine.  Go rollerblading on a Saturday morning or put on your running shoes and hit the trails.  Nonprofit organizations put on 5k fun runs in almost every city each month - sign up with a few friends and make a day out of it.  Before long, you will find that it is easier than you think to stay fit and lead a healthy lifestyle just by doing things you enjoy!

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Comments (2)

Great tips! Sometimes I wonder how people keep it up, but I think you're right that it's setting up a simple and realistic plan which is the key.

I use something suggested at I got a calendar and started marking off every time I make/miss the gym with a different color. I try to see how many days in a row i can mark off. Works for me at least.