Deciding that it’s time to make some healthy changes to your lifestyle is the first step, but finding the motivation to implement them and get your body moving can be challenging. To help you motivate yourself to become more active and stick to a workout routine, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for you to try.
It’s important for you to first determine why you want to incorporate more exercise into your lifestyle as this allows you to personally and emotionally invest in your goals. Some common reasons why you may wish to workout more are:
- it reduces the risk of developing artery disease
- It lowers your blood pressure
- it helps to prevent type 2 diabetes and some cancers
- it gives you more energy
Setting goals for yourself will give you something to work towards. That said, it’s important for your goals to be SMART, this means that they are:
- Specific - if your goal is to ‘lose weight’ this is not specific enough. You should instead determine the amount of weight you wish to lose (i.e. I want to lose 1 stone).
- Measurable – if you want to become fitter, you should consider exactly what it is you wish to achieve so that you can measure it to ensure you’re on track. For example, you could say to yourself that you want to be able to run 5k or walk for 30 minutes each day.
- Achievable – If your goals aren’t realistic, how will you be able to reach them? The worst part about having difficult goals is that if you aren’t hitting your targets, you can very easily become demotivated. The best thing you can do is start by setting small goals and once you achieve those, you can set new ones.
- Relevant – it’s important for your goals to have meaning for you so they will really make an impact. For example, if your goal is to become fitter to keep up with your family, you could set yourself a goal to take part in a physical activity with them once a week so you’re reminded of your goal and what it means to you.
- Time-bound – If you set yourself a date to have achieved your goal by, you’ll have a ‘deadline’ to work towards.
Find out more about SMART goals.
Try to take a disciplined approach to being active and set time aside during the week where you know you’ll be working out. If you’ve told yourself you’re going to be doing a 20 minute run on a Friday afternoon, you’ll be more likely to do it as it’s already a part of your schedule.
Self-monitoring is key to remaining motivated to workout and reaching your goals. Make note of all the physical activities you’re doing – this will help you to track your progress and identify whether you’re doing too much or too little. You could try keeping a diary, jotting down the exercises you’re doing, how long you’ve done them for and how you felt afterwards. This will also allow you to compare your performance to previous dates. Moreover, hitting new ‘personal bests’ is a great way to keep you on the right path and gives you a real sense of achievement.
When you have others there to support your workout efforts you can lean on them in times of doubt, to get advice or to feel reassured. Here at LiveWell Dorset, our team of advisors and coaches are ready to support you on your journey to becoming more active but you can always reach out to friends and family too - you never know, you might inspire others to exercise more!
If you find yourself counting down the minutes until you’ve completed your workout routine, why not try to distract yourself whilst you exercise? For example, you could play your favourite music or podcast or you could workout whilst watching the TV…the time will fly by!
If your goal is to lose weight, make sure that you give yourself praise for each pound you shed. If you’re working towards improving your mood, give yourself credit if you’re noticing a positive change in the way you’re feeling. No step is too small when it’s in the right direction!
You can also choose to reward yourself for hitting milestones as this is something you have to look forward to, although, you should ensure that these are appropriate and not a step back. Some examples of treats could be:
- arranging a day out with friends
- getting your hair done
- buying yourself some new exercise gear or clothing
By partnering up with someone else in your workout efforts you can help motivate each other, celebrating both of your efforts.
Alternatively, you could consider joining a class or activity where you will feel more involved and will be surrounded by people with similar goals.
You might prefer to head out to the great outdoors to get your steps in but if you want to exercise from home, it can be useful to have a dedicated space for working out in. Having a designated area which is clear from clutter will allow you to focus on your exercises...it would be hard to find the motivation to exercise in a room which isn’t very inviting!
If you only ever follow the same old exercise routine you could quite quickly become bored and less likely to keep up your good efforts. Why not take inspiration from personal trainers online who often share workouts for free or join in on an online challenge? To get you started, you could check out the Take Twelve weekly workouts.
Hopefully you now have a good idea of some steps you could take to find the motivation to get active and stick to your new exercise routine. Making fitness a priority is a great step in building a happier and healthier lifestyle but starting small will make these new changes more manageable.
If you do experience days where you haven’t achieved what you’d hoped...don't be too hard on yourself, we all do! Simply read over the above tips again and pick yourself back up - you can do it!
If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for some motivation or help in getting more active, we can help! With a team of professional advisors and coaches on hand each step of the way, we can support you in reaching your fitness goals so you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.