With a new year comes thoughts of resolutions, and the areas of doing better with your health, wellness and exercise are no exception in those thoughts for new starts. Even amidst a global pandemic when people need to social distance and stay at least six feet apart, many are looking for safe ways to push their pandemic weight off and just stay in shape. After all, any exercise is better than no exercise! But what if your gym is still closed or you’re too nervous to even go because of record-reaching coronavirus numbers in your area? What if you simply lack the motivation to get up off the couch at all?
Ways to Make Yourself Look Forward to Exercising
“It’s cold and wet outside.”
“I’m too stressed.”
“I’m so tired.”
“The couch is so comfy.”
“I don’t want to be around people.”
“Coronavirus cases are surging.”
Sound familiar? We know it’s tough to get started in a normal year, let alone during a pandemic. Our inner couch potato is our own worst enemy, and we waste a lot of energy trying to motivate ourselves to exercise. If you find yourself struggling to get moving, check out these following tips that are sure to help you break those mental barriers and get your sweat on. Keep in mind that since gatherings and group sessions really aren’t safe to do yet, these tips can apply to you whether you choose to work out at home or in a public gym setting that is following CDC safety guidelines.
- Rethink positive thinking.
Studies show that exercising the brain can help promote mental motivation, allowing us to think more positively about working out as a whole. In fact, visualizing the benefits of a behavior is one of the best motivational strategies you can do. For instance, when you are deciding whether or not to take that early morning run, it might help to picture the rising sun and how it will feel on your face. Consider how you’ll feel and what it will look like when you start to lose the weight and develop new muscles. Remember, though, that positive thinking is half the battle -- it’s up to you to make it an action item.
- Remember why you started.
The key to finding the motivation to get up and out there is to find your “why” -- the reason you want to even do this in the first place -- and then remind yourself of it whenever you feel that motivation slipping. Whether it’s because you want to look fantastic in shorts or because you’re looking to improve your overall health, ask yourself if you want to start from the beginning again just because you didn’t feel like working out that day.
- Plan your schedule ahead of time...
...and put these dates on your calendar! Thinking of your workout days just like any other important appointment essentially transforms them from “optional” activities into “mandatory” obligations. However, allow yourself a couple of days as buffers in case there’s an emergency or something else unexpected happens that forces you to reschedule your workout. Keep in mind that “reschedule” is the key word here -- not “cancel”! Need helping getting started with a personalized schedule? Check out our calendar of various free exercise routines!
- Put on your workout clothes.
Getting dressed in the right workout clothes is one of the best ways to boost your motivation to wanting to exercise. Think about it: How silly would you feel plopping yourself on the couch after putting on your sports bra, leggings and running shoes? Yes, we know everyone is wearing their comfy, stretchy yoga pants everywhere now, but… if you find something that is specifically designed for exercising and workouts, fits your body size and shape nicely, and that also makes you feel good when you wear it, you might find yourself moving, running or dancing around whether you want to or not!
- Wear a fitness tracker.
Gone are the days of $1,000 exercise devices. Today, there are many more affordable options for wearable workout technology -- many of which include hourly or daily reminders to hit the mat or take those steps! Some come with food, water, and exercise trackers as well as challenges that allow you to compete against your friends during the work week. From smartphone apps, traditional pedometers, and wearable watch-like devices, fitness trackers can help boost your motivation and increase your steps per day, especially if you have a heart-smart daily goal in place!
- Develop a safe buddy system.
If coronavirus has shut down your gym or you don’t feel comfortable working out in public spaces near others, you can still find a support system, whether that be an online community or a safe close relative or friend. Connecting with someone else -- even if you don’t actually workout together -- can be a great way to boost your motivation. Tip: Create a private fitness board on Pinterest and update it for each other for extra support! Checking this board can be super-motivating, especially if you workout alone, because someone is there with you, keeping you accountable.
- Base your workouts on your mood.
The key here is variety! By basing your workouts on your mood, you essentially get a more therapeutic experience that is sure to keep you motivated. For example, if you’ve been stuck inside the house all day (thanks, COVID!), you might do an outdoor run or focus on cardio. If you had a late night and have zero energy, plan a relaxing session that focuses on foam rolling and stretching with some easier mat-based flexibility moves tossed in. If you’re in beast mode, try strength training or heavy plyometrics. Whatever you do, make sure it either puts you in a good mood or keeps you there!
- Surround yourself with motivation.
Hang up motivational photos on your mirrors, whether they are exercise-specific phrases or just phrases that make you feel good. Label Post-its or sticky notes with positive messages about the benefits of exercising. Also write your goal down everywhere -- on your calendar, refrigerator, alarm clock, computer, car mirror -- so that you have a constant reminder of what you’re working toward.
- Designate a space.
Creating an area in your apartment or house that is dedicated solely to exercise can help minimize distractions that could be motivation killers, allowing you to get in the right mindset to burn those calories. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to involve expensive gym equipment. Basements, spare bedrooms, or even sectioning off a corner of the living room will provide you a sacred space to bust out a round of burpees or practice yoga.
- Make whatever you do your favorite thing.
Let’s face it: The more we dislike something, the less we want to do it. So, if you find an activity or sport you love that gives you happiness and confidence, you might never need to motivate yourself again! For instance, if you enjoy getting out on a bike, you can turn cycling into a favorite workout and even set things up so that you can do it indoors or out. With something you actually like doing, even at a basic or simple level, you might notice your body changing without any extra effort at all.
Sure, we already looked at the best ways for staying motivated while exercising at home just a couple of months ago. But we also know that 2020 was a difficult year, so we are taking the opportunity to once again touch on these awesome motivational tips for helping you to keep your body -- and mind -- in tip-top shape as we move forward into 2021!
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