How to keep laziness, burnout, and forgotten gym shoes from standing in the way of your workout. Or have you noticed your motivation to exercise declining over time? Just can't get excited the way you used to, or maybe you never really got excited about fitness in the first place? Does that trip to the gym just seem too difficult or time consuming?
Motivation to exercise isn't something you're born with. It’s something you nurture and cultivate over time. Your motivation, which is really a reflection of your interest level, wanes for a reason. Well, actually two reasons: you either hate what you're doing or you aren't seeing any results. Or maybe both.
So how do you rekindle that old flame and fall in love with fitness again?
1) Find Something You Actually Enjoy Doing
Don't force yourself to do something you hate, because, surprise, surprise, you're going to hate it. Not everyone was meant to be a runner, so if you hate running, don't do it. Some people can’t stand the gym- if that's you, don't go! A burnt calorie is a burnt calorie, and you're likely to burn a whole lot more if you aren't counting down the seconds until your workout's over.
2) Get a Personal Trainer
One of the reasons why trainers are so effective is because they hold you accountable to make it to your appointment, says Sulamith Bochtler, owner of @SportySuli Online Coaching. Even if you don't have a trainer, you can stay accountable by asking a friend, family member, or significant other to make you stick to your workouts. Sulamith suggests having them help you keep track of your missed sweat sessions, set consequences if you miss too many, and offer rewards if you make it to all of them.
3) Set a Super Simple and Specific Goal
One workout can seem like a drop in the bucket, making them individually seem less important and easier to skip. But, like votes on election day, every workout counts. Long term goals are necessary for progress, but they aren't the most motivating force. Setting short term goals help ensure that every workout is a success and you walk out feeling invincible. That accomplishment will push you to accomplish more next time. Always wanted to do a pullup? Pour your whole heart into it for a few weeks. Or you can get even smaller with it, and pick a goal for each workout: do one more rep, go up to the next weight for your presses, add 5 more minutes to your time, or try a new exercise or machine you've never used before. Of course, Tangible, physical improvements like inches, pounds, and easily buttoned skinny jeans are super powerful motivators. Need help setting goals? Talk to a pro like the VENUS ARMY ambassador for motivation, ideas, and a solid plan of action.
4) It's Better in Numbers
The more the social your workout, the more fun it will feel. Grab some friends next time you head to the gym. Just choose those friends wisely- you're there to work, so save the conversations for later. Even just being in a room full of strangers can be more motivating and fun than going at it solo, so if you're feeling like you can't drag yourself through a workout, rely on the motivating atmosphere of a class to push through.
5) Take a Break
If you usually love the gym but your motivation has been lacking lately, you may just need a break. Your body is pretty smart and will usually tell you what it needs, if you're willing to listen. You may be physically overtraining or mentally burnt out. Either way, take some time off. Does the idea of that scare you? That's another sign you probably need a break. Need to keep moving? Go for a walk or bike ride for a few days. You’ll get back into it.
6) Treat Yourself!
Positive reinforcement is another powerful motivator, so buy yourself something nice as a reward for all your hard work. A good option? New workout gear. It sounds a little superficial, but it works. If you buy new workout gear, you'll be excited to show it off. Just don't reward your exercise commitment with food--that's negative reinforcement and can lead to a dangerous cycle.