For many people, exercising seems difficult and exhausting — even a chore. To be honest, I agree. Exercising is difficult and it can be exhausting. But it’s an important part of my lifestyle, and I like the results I get from exercising: good health, a fit body, and the feeling I have done something good for myself and accomplished a goal.
Even as a fitness specialist — someone who helps others with their workouts and fitness goals — I don’t always find time for my own workout. Sometimes life happens and plans change. It’s easy to stay on the couch, to push my exercise goals off until another time, to find other things to fill my time. For me, finding motivation and setting my workout as a daily goal helps me get the exercise I know I need.
What is more important than your health? Here are five tips that will help you find time, motivate you, and help you make exercising part of your lifestyle.
Tip #1: Pack your gym bag — and keep it in the car. Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is getting started. Let’s face it: Once I’m home from work, I’m not likely to grab my gym bag and head back out. Keeping a gym bag packed with sneakers, workout clothes, socks, toiletries, and anything else you need saves time and prevents you from heading home. Just make sure you put your gym bag in the car before you leave home so you always have everything you need in tow.
Tip #2: Set SMART goals. Think about housework: Many of us create a to-do list of specific goals to accomplish. The same thing applies when you workout: If you just go through the motions, you’re never going to get anywhere.
I recommend setting either bi-weekly or monthly goals; for example, a certain total of total miles walked or calories burned. To maximize your efforts, set goals that are “SMART”:
- Time bound
Don’t set one huge goal; instead, set smaller, incremental goals that are easier to reach and that contribute to your ultimate, big-picture goal.
Tip #3: Tap into mobile technology. If you use a smartphone or mobile device, download free fitness apps that can help you reach your goals, motivate you, and make working out easier.
You also can purchase wearable fitness trackers to keep track of calories burned, steps taken, and exercise achieved throughout the day. These products can serve as inspiration to motivate you to burn more calories or run farther.
Tip #4: Join the crowd in fitness events. Participating in athletic events with others is a great way to find inspiration and motivation for continuing your workouts and pushing yourself to new levels. Sign up for a race or fitness competition with a friend or family member, and hold each other accountable for your progress. Train or exercise together. From 5Ks and Tough Mudders to Spartan races, fund-raising walks, and triathlons, fitness events can be fun.
Check with your gym or find local events through your newspaper or social media.
Tip #5: Get rewarded. What would the Olympics be without medals? Most of us are motivated by tangible rewards.
If this method works for you, use it to your advantage. Set a challenging goal and tell your friends and family about it so they can support you and help you to reach your goal. Once you reach your milestone, reward yourself with a specific gift such as new sneakers, a new bike, clothes, or even a fitness gadget. After all, you earned it!