Staying motivated to workout can be tough - I know because I've worked out 3 - 4 times a week, for 10 years, since I was 15. However, here are 4 easy ways to keep yourself motived.
1. Set and Write Down Mini Goals
It's important that you have direction when you work out. Write down achieveable goals for yourself and make them specific - lose weight is not a specific goal. Lose 5 pounds is a specific goal. Here are some good ones:
- Workout 3 times a week for 1 month
- Run for 10 minutes at 5.0 mph
- Lose 5 lbs of fat within 30 days
- Put on 5 lbs of muscle within 30 days
Writing down your goals gives you a sense of achievement. It's an easy way to look back and what you have done and realize it wasn't for nothing. This is especially helpful when you have a minor set back (which will happen, like binge eating).
2. Take Photos of Yourself
You do not have to hire someone, pose like a tiger and make a fool of yourself. The point of photographing your body is to visually track your achievements. Strip down to your underware and have someone (or use a camera with a timer to do it yourself) take front, back and side profile photos of you. For best results, they should be standing at least 5 feet back and you should have ample lighting. It's best if the light is in front of you so that there are no shadows.
Then, in a few months of consistently working out, have that same friend take the same types of body photos. You should set everything up the same way so it is easy to compare your photos. Again, comparing photos will help you look back at what you have done. It's hard to see the improvements you are making when you look at yourself in the mirror every day. However, looking at photos 30 - 60 days apart is a great way to see the drastic changes you have made.
3. Don't Be Shy - Share Your Goals
Make yourself accountable. If you hide your goals and don't tell anyone, you'll only have yourself to answer to and it's easy to rationalize your failures when you are only answering to yourself. Instead, let everyone know about your goals. This is helpful in two ways:
- If everyone knows about your fitness goals, they are likely to be supportive and ask you follow up questions as you continue to workout. If you decide to quit, you'll have to answer to a bunch of friends and family about why you gave us. It's going to be embarassing and you will likely feel ashamed. This is a huge motivator to keep going.
- If everyone knows what you are doing, you're likely to find support to keep going. When you go to a friend's house for dinner and they offer you dessert, they'll understand why you say no if you've shared your fitness goals. You'll also be surprised how many of your friends and family are in the same boat. Sharing your goals is a great way to create a support network to keep you on track.
4. Track Your Progress
There are two things you should be recording to keep yourself motivated:
- What you do at the gym (i.e., reps, sets, weight used, cardio length, etc.)
- Body measurements (including weight, measurements and composition - if possible).
Tracking everything you do at the gym helps you to identify what's working and what's not. Again, it's another way to look back and see where you've made gains and understand how you are improving. If you look at your workout journal and see that you have been doing the same amount of cardio, at the same intensity, for the last month, it's a good indicator that you might need to push yourself a little more.
With regards to body measurements, if you track more than just weight, you'll have a better idea of the improvements you are making. Tracking just your weight can be deceiving because muscle weighs more than fat. So if you lose 5 lbs of fat and put on 3 lbs of muscle, the scale will only show a -2 difference but in reality, you've made some great changes. Without keeping track of your composition and measurements, you wouldn't know you've made progress.
Working out can be tough but staying motivated doesn't have to keep. Use these 4 techniques and you'll be sure to stay motivated.