In some ways, summer makes exercise easier: the weather is gorgeous, making outside activities oh-so-enticing. Plus, bikini-season provides extra motivation to stay slim! But for some people, the change in routine makes it harder to exercise between kids being out of school, vacations, and routines being thrown off in general. October is almost over and for many of us it’s time for back-to-school and back-to-routine. If you’re having a hard time motivating yourself to keep up with your exercise routine, we hear you! These five tricks only involve changing your thinking so you can.
Look on the bright side
Instead of being discouraged that you feel like you’re back at square one with your workout routine, look at it a different way. Starting with small, attainable goals gives you something to celebrate – and reward yourself for. Not only that, but if you create a plan of how you’ll incrementally get yourself back to where you once were, you can have the perspective that your small beginnings are leading to something big – soon! Basically, remind yourself that it’s a temporary setback and that in no time you’ll be stronger and more consistent than you ever were before.
Don’t exercise, play
If you don’t enjoy exercise, you’re not alone. Even if it’s not something you’re naturally built to love, exercise is still a necessary evil important to your health. The best way to get around a distaste for working out is to find a way to make it fun. Mentally, what makes an activity fun and motivating for you? If you’re the person who’s motivated by checklists, then create a to-do list for your workouts. If you have fun doing new things and constantly changing it up, look for an app or trainer who will help keep things exciting for you. As far as actual activities, we dare you to try something new! If traditional workouts aren’t your thing, try different ideas until you find the exercise you love. Who knows – you just might love kayaking or cycling even though you hate kickboxing and circuits!
Positive reinforcement never hurt anybody. As you reach goals, give yourself rewards! Did you stick with your workout plan consistently for three weeks? Buy the new workout clothes you want! Have you worked up to running more miles than ever before? Get the new running shoes you’ve been eyeing! It doesn’t even have to be that big rewards, either. For example, the apple you brought to refuel with after you hit the gym? Think of that as your reward for completing your workout. Turning “normal” things into rewards will help you keep up your routine.
Make the commitment real
Instead of keeping the commitment between you and yourself, bring in a good friend (or three) to hold you accountable. You could even create a contract including a penalty if you don’t live up to your end of the bargain. It might seem silly, but if you know there’s $50 on the line for not showing up to the gym four times this week, you’ll be way more likely to go! This is especially effective if you join a gym or attend a class with a friend who’s also supposed to be there and you commit to buying them a coffee for every session you miss.
See yourself the way you want to be
Instead of shaming yourself with self-talk including words like “lazy,” “fat,” and “unfit,” start talking to yourself better. Right now, you might see yourself as a slightly out-of-shape mom hoping to get more fit. Change your thinking and choose to see yourself as an athlete in training. This will help you shift your mentality about exercising from a “maybe” to a “must.” You’re choosing to fully embrace your new identity as a healthy, athletic person which includes starting to think, talk, and act like a healthy, athletic person. Even if you’re still in the process of fully becoming that person, changing your self-talk and mental attitude will help you actually reach those goals.
Getting back in the swing of things might be a challenge, but you can do it! Don’t beat yourself up, and let these five mental tricks jumpstart your motivation to exercise!