By: Aubrey Reinmiller, Owner, Vitality Fitness & Welness
Pop into any Facebook group or start a chat with friends about starting a fitness routine and one of the first things that will come up is how much we struggle with finding motivation. Many of us lament that we just aren’t the people who have motivation and that’s what keeps us stuck from ever reaching our goals, whether they be to fit into our favorite clothes again, have the stamina and strength to take a bucket list vacation, or to feel more energy each day. If you think about it, we all are motivated to do the things we enjoy. It’s easy to find time, even with busy schedules and the demands of life, to get started with something we are really excited and passionate about, but it can be trickier to find the motivation for something we are less passionate about, like exercise. You might be surprised to know that even as an exercise professional, some days I also struggle with motivation. As we head into the New Year, one of the most common resolutions is to start exercising more often. There is power in knowing that you are capable of experiencing motivation. You have experienced it with the activities you are passionate about, it’s not an elusive beast. Let’s discover the ways you can find your motivation for exercise and keep it this year!
Don’t Think About the Exercise, Think About the Benefits!
If you don’t absolutely love to exercise, first, try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. I’m an exercise professional and fitness coach but I do not like running. I often joke with my clients that I have never seen anyone smile while running and that if you see me running you probably should also start running because something scary is coming! And while strength training is the most important form of exercise, especially as we age, there are also many forms of exercise that you might enjoy also from hiking, biking, dancing, swimming, zumba, yoga, to sports of all kinds.
Second, focus on how you will feel after you have consistently exercised. You will likely feel more energy, fewer aches and pains, sleep better, have more ease with everyday activities, and feel stronger and more confident. Focusing on the benefits versus the process is a good way to get you moving.
Don’t Wait for Motivation to Strike, Schedule It!
You can wait around for motivation to strike and hope that you magically have the motivation to exercise today or you can set a schedule and make it as easy as possible to fall into your workout. Set out your workout clothes or pack them with you if you plan to workout after a task or work. Schedule your workouts in your calendar like the most important appointment with yourself. What is more important than your health and fitness? And use the concept of habit stacking where you start your routine after something you already do consistently.
For example, every morning I brush my teeth, get dressed, drink a glass of lemon water, eat breakfast, and workout. I don’t have to think about what comes next or make any decisions because each habit happens right after the next. As a busy mom and business owner, without habit stacking I could fall into any number of rabbit holes or tasks that derail me from my workout routine, which I know helps me stay clear headed and gives me energy for my day.
Choose the Right Challenge
Once you get started, motivation builds on itself and almost snowballs. You will experience some small wins that will keep you going. For members of my virtual fitness coaching programs, right away they start to feel more energy, develop pride in themselves for starting a new routine, feel their clothes are fitting better, and they have fewer aches and pains.
But if you push yourself too hard in your workouts or are too extreme with your routine, it will be too hard to stay motivated and to keep up with the routine. You will feel tired, exhausted, and defeated and pushing on will be too difficult. I see this happen when people have been out of an exercise routine for a long time or are really frustrated with their current health and fitness. They think pushing themselves to the max will make up for lost time but in reality, it only causes them to crash and burn quickly. Find the right intensity for you and schedule your workouts. The best routine will be adding strength training 2-3 days a week and 2 days of a cardio based activity, I suggest a shorter, moderate to high intensity, interval workout for your cardio workouts.
There Will Be Days Where You Don’t Want To, Do It Anyway!
Inevitably there will be days where you don’t want to exercise. You won’t feel motivated. There are tons of other things that will be calling your name and your attention. Of course, if your body is telling you that it needs a rest day, listen to your body. Take the rest. It’s important to honor your body and to listen to your body. Just don’t take a rest year or decade 😉 But if you are tempted to push your workout aside because of the many demands of life, give yourself 20 minutes. You can commit to 20 minutes.
Once you get started, within the first few minutes endorphins kick in and you start to feel good. You will be proud of yourself for getting your workout in and feel better every time. I can’t count the number of times a client has told me they wanted to skip the workout today but they pushed themselves and they are so glad they did because they feel so much better. If you are crunched for time, try one of my exercise snack videos here:
Create a Mantra or Affirmation for Yourself
Did you ever notice the repetitive thoughts you have? Each of us has a story going on in our minds that keeps us from growing as a person. For me, the thought that I’m trying to change is, “I don’t have enough time.” Whenever I get stressed out, my mind immediately starts repeating this phrase. I say it to my husband, my friends, and even my kids. This year, I’m taking on the challenge to change that thought to: “I have all the time I need to accomplish everything that is important to me.”
Can you create a mantra or affirmation that becomes automatic for you when you start to talk yourself out of exercise? Here are a few examples, “I exercise to feel healthy and vibrant.” or “I workout to honor my body, it’s strength, and it’s grit.” or “Each day my body grows stronger through exercise.” Creating a mantra for yourself can replace the excuses or negative thoughts that might pop up when your mind tries to stop you from getting a good workout in!
Hire a coach! Join a community!
One of the best ways to get motivated and stay motivated and the key to success is to join a community of people just like yourself with similar goals and similar fitness levels. My virtual fitness programs at Vitality Fitness and Wellness (www.vitalityfitnwell.com), keep our members motivated from our team of coaches in your corner to having a community of other members with similar goals at a similar stage in life. Having a coach in your corner takes the guesswork out of reaching your goals and creates a clear plan and path to quicker results and ensures you will stay on track.
With these tips to gain motivation and never lose it you can be one of the women who sets a goal this year and meets it! To discover the best workout plan and routine to help you thrive after 55, download my free Thrive after 55 fitness guide here. Link: http://bit.ly/2Dpa0gV