Every January, gyms across Canada are full of what regulars call, “the New Year’s resolution crowd.” One can often spot them a mile away… shiny new running shoes, massive water bottles, and the nicest workout wear around for miles. Two months later, most of these new enthusiasts are gone, and not because they’ve met their goals. To the contrary, most disappear discouraged, tired, injured, and with the belief that “next year” may be a better year to begin.
Are you one of these people? If so, stop beating yourself up. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back for your good intentions, and ask yourself the all-important question: am I finally ready to make exercise part of my life… for life?
Good. Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I want you to think about setting some realistic goals for yourself. Having goals and a plan to achieve them is essential. I typically suggest setting short, medium, and long-term goals… this approach helps us track our progress and gives us more opportunity to celebrate the small gains we make along the way.
You’ve set some goals and you have a plan to achieve them… but are you motivated? Motivation is key, and today I’m sharing eight tips to help you stay on track. When you feel yourself slipping (i.e. thinking about hitting the couch instead of the gym) read them over and stay the course.
- If you’re not enjoying the activities you’re doing, it’s time to change things up. Tired of running? Try swimming. Walking alone boring? Try some doubles tennis.
- As the seasons change, try new activities. For example, during the summer months, give up one or two indoor workouts in order to play some tennis or to cycle outdoors. Likewise, if you aren’t able to enjoy tennis over the winter months, keep fit (and social) with group fitness classes at your gym or community centre.
- Determine if you’re better off exercising on your own or with others. Both have benefits and downsides. Do what suits you best.
- Make a commitment to fitness and health and write it down (it’s a contract you have with yourself). Review it often and remind yourself that you’re striving to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself… not to mention a great role model for others.
- Create a catch phrase or word that you can repeat to yourself when you’re in danger of being sidetracked. I remind myself regularly that exercise isn’t a punishment, it’s a privilege. Think about how lucky you are to be healthy and strong enough to participate.
- Practice mental imagery. Picture yourself exercising, following through on your commitment to it, overcoming set-backs, and achieving success. This can help you overcome both mental and physical barriers in your way.
- Build a tough attitude. Don’t “think” you can do it…. “know” you can. Knowledge is power!
- Identify self-defeating thoughts, behaviours and patternsm and develop a plan to overcome them. Believe in yourself and everyone else will too.