It’s MUCH easier to say we’re going to do something than it is to actually do it. We’ve all been there on New Years Eve, telling ourselves this year will be ‘the year’ that we get ourselves together and achieve those resolutions and goals, only to find we lose steam and motivation after the first week of good behaviour. What seemed so easy just weeks ago can somehow change into something you see as self-punishment, or something that is in the way of our working day or childcare. It becomes an obstacle, rather than a vehicle to becoming healthier and in turn, happier.
There is a huge debate on how long it takes humans to develop new habits. Experts have claimed it is anywhere between 21 and 28 days, but it may take months to get into a routine without thinking about it. We’ve put together our top tips for staying motivated and staying away from workout fatigue.
1. Just get there
Ever heard that the thought can often be worse than the thing itself? You are never going to feel like a hard workout when you’re just waking up, all warm in bed. Use the mind set of ‘just get there’ and the workout itself will happen! Researchers have found that the mental block of getting to the gym or to their exercise facility is half the battle. Once you’re there, you’ll be ready for the endorphin rush you associate with working out!
2. Make it fun
If you don’t enjoy yourself, it’s going to be double as hard to make it a habit. There are literally thousands of ways in which you can move and exercise – work with your trainer to find something that challenges you, but also gives you a sense of enjoyment and achievement, and make sure to incorporate this into your workouts as often as you can.
3. Embrace small wins
We all start out with ‘big’ goals – a new PB or a weight-lift to achieve, but along the way there will be a lot of progress you should celebrate! Each step is a step in the right direction, and no matter how far away your ‘end goal’ seems to be, take pride in reaching mini milestones and celebrate yourself!
4. It’s OK to miss the gym
Think about it – we all have habits we don’t stick to every day of the year – so ‘missing’ a gym session is not going to be the end of the world. Acknowledging you need a day off and not judging yourself for that is key. Keeping good habits is about doing them 90% of the time – pressuring yourself to be there 100%, 100% of the time will lead to burnout and a sense that you have take on too much – your workout is supposed to be energising, not something you dread doing.
5. Get enough sleep
This is not brand new information, but it is worth repeating, because sleep is SO important for workout performance, mood & energy levels. With 7-9 hours sleep each night, you will have both the energy needed to maintain better habits, and the motivation to complete your workouts.
6. Isolate your weakness
If falling off the exercise wagon is something that happens often to you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation. Use your personal trainer – they want you to get the most out of your workout, so it’s in their interest to make sure you’re happy and progresssing.
7. Know your workout plan
Whether you do it the night before or in the morning, get specific about what exercises you’ll be doing for your workout. . To make this more effective as a habit, write out your plan at the same time each day. You will feel much more structured and prepared when you enter the gym
8. Ditch the All or Nothing mindset
It is a common problem that people believe they have to do their workout exactly as they had planned, and if any part of the plan falls apart (Waking up 30 minutes later) then the plan goes in the bin completely. We hold ourselves to impossibly high standards that do not allow for adaptation when life gets in the way (and it will do). The subsequent feeling of being overwhelmed (and perhaps blaming your goal of increased exercise) is not going to improve your exercise mindset or good habit building. Keep reminding yourself – 10 minutes is better than 5, and 5 minutes is better than nothing. Remember – consistency is built every day over weeks and months.
We hope these tips will help you in forming your habits, but also that you’ve learnt not to be so hard on yourself when things have to take a side step! Life happens, and as long as we’re realistic about goals, consistency and steady improvement, you’ll start to notice a positive mindset shift towards your workouts. Remember – your trainers are here to help you, use them!