New year, new exercise routine? Although we start the year with great intentions, it’s not to long until our enthusiasm wavers. No matter how difficult it seems, it can be quite simple to stay focussed and ensure this healthy lifestyle isn’t just a January phase. Follow the tips below to maintain motivation all year round.
Get a workout buddy
Working out with a friend has plenty of benefits. You’re less likely to cancel a workout if you’ve scheduled it with a friend, you’ll get support to work harder and it just makes it more fun. If heading to the gym for the first time or joining a new team, going with a friend can also relieve some of those first-time nerves.
Dress the part
Buy yourself some new training kit, whether it’s a pair of trainers or some leggings. This will help you feel more confident and positive about keeping fit. If you’ve planned a workout, but you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, get changed into your sports clothes anyway as this will give you an extra nudge to go out and exercise.
Setting goals, both long and short term, will help you stay focused. These could range from extending your workouts from 45 minutes to 1 hour within the next 3 months, taking part in a 10k run or trying a new activity every month. Choose something realistic that you will enjoy working towards, as this is what will keep you focussed.
Think about how you feel
Along with the health benefits and aesthetic changes that come with keeping fit, it also makes you feel good. Research has shown that exercise can help you sleep better, increase happiness and reduce stress. We all have those days where we get home from work and can’t think of anything worse than exercising, but have you ever gone for a workout and regretted it?
Listen to music
Listening to music while working out can help keep you motivated in several ways – elevating your mood, getting you “in the zone” and ultimately making you work harder. Science has shown that we relate songs to certain emotions and memories, so pop on something that inspires you as this can help to improve physical performance.
If you’re seeing results, achieving your goals or just working hard at maintaining your lifestyle changes, it’s okay to have a reward! Putting too much pressure on yourself and being overly restrictive can lead to a lack of motivation, so make sure you treat yourself to the things you enjoy every now and again.
If you’re really struggling to stay focused after the “new year, new me” hype has fizzled out, ask yourself why you were exercising in the first place and why this is important to you? Remember this reason and think about it on the days you don’t want to leave the sofa for an extra boost in motivation!
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