Well January is over and amazingly despite our best intentions many of the New Year’s Resolutions we made will have already fallen by the wayside. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
The problem, with motivation is that it is a changing state. One day you can feel really inspired and determined and a day later, if not even hours later, it’s a whole different feeling. The basic problems are:
- Exercise to many people is a chore or an obligation, it’s not something that we enjoy.
- Added to this fact is any changes in fitness level, body shape, muscle gain etc are slow to manifest as in you have to complete a number of weeks of working out and let’s be honest sensible eating/drinking in order to see the change.
These two factors alone can make the new exerciser feel de motivated and daunted. A horrifying statistic is that by February 84% of people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions- albeit that they won’t all be about exercising!
Unless or until you can make working out a habit, it is a battle to keep on track. Here are a few tips that may help you keep your focus.
To begin with if you fail to plan you plan to fail. If you plan exactly what you will do, when you will do it, how long you will do it for, in detail you have a much better chance of success. Don’t make your workout decision based on your current mood and level of inspiration – base it on the plan and your goals.
It is important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Short term, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. Wanting to lose three stone is a goal but it’s too long term to matter on a daily/weekly basis. Setting a goal of losing 1-2lbs per week is something you can focus on with immediate effect.
Will power is like a gas tank and depletes over the course of the day. The earlier in the day you can exercise the greater the chances are that you will complete the session. A recent study showed that when participants managed to exercise in the morning they reported a 30% increase in their mood during the course of the day. One top tip is that if you can only exercise in the evening- take your kit to work with you as if you go home first you are much less likely to collect your kit and go back out.
Put your kit on. Sometimes if you just make the commitment to change into your workout clothing, it is surprising that you then feel more motivated to start. The variation on this is the 5 min rule – If you are really struggling try the ‘5 min rule’. Promise yourself that you will start exercising and if after 5 minutes you still feel as bad and hate it then you will stop.
The thing to remember is that you are not alone – everyone has times when they struggle to exercise but the more strategies you have to help you stick to the past, the greater the chances you have of succeeding. Good Luck and don’t forget – the gym team are here every day if you want advice or support.