“Motivation is what get’s you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
There’s one problem here. What if you’re lacking in motivation to even get started? Are you doomed to living with the same less-than-healthy habits that you’ve been trying to break? Or is there still hope that you can tap into some supernatural source of motivation?
The secret to getting motivated – and staying motivated – starts with your WHY. Your WHY is the driving force behind wanting to eat better, get fit, or improve your overall health. It goes deeper than weight loss, than having flatter abs, and even than being healthy. It’s about WHY you want those things, what that will mean to you, and how it will change your life! When you feel like giving up, you’re got to remember why you started and focus on that! Write it down, post it in an accessible location where you will see it daily, and share it with others! Every person you share it with adds accountability.
Even with the strongest WHY, there are going to be days that hitting the snooze button and crawling back under the covers seems a lot more appealing than lacing up your workout shoes and busting your butt in the gym. On days like those, these 32 tips will help you move forward. They’ll give you the motivation you need to get started so you can develop the habits you need to keep going.
- Wear an article of clothing or accessory that will remind you of your WHY and encourage you not to give up! I wear a bracelet that says “TRUST AND BELIEVE” which has meaning on multiple levels for me. I also love the socks on thesoxbox.com. Who wouldn’t push through their workout with socks that say “Fighter” or “Believe & Achieve” on them?
- Invest in comfortable, attractive workout clothes and shoes that you will WANT to wear and which make you feel GOOD.
- If you have trouble getting going in the morning, wear your workout clothes to sleep and put your shoes by your bed so you’re ready to start as soon as you wake up. If you workout in the evening, change into your workout clothes as soon as you get home. This will help mentally prepare you for your workout and reinforce the mindset that you WILL get it in!
- Search Google images for motivational pictures and hang them up on your fridge/pantry, in your workout space, or in another prominent location. I also like to use motivational images and quotes as the background image (wallpaper) on my phone.
- Get a partner, coach, and/or trainer for accountability, support, encouragement, and motivation.
- Keep a workout calendar and check off each workout as you complete it. There is something very satisfying about putting a big “X” through yet another workout and seeing yourself progress through your program and toward your goal! Take notes on how you did with each workout so you can challenge yourself to do a little bit better next time. Write in rewards at periodic “checkpoints” to motivate you to keep going!
- If you are following a DVD program, follow the program calendar as it is laid out for you. If you are following your own program, print out or purchase a calendar, write your workouts in, and cross them off once complete. If you miss a day, pick up where you left off – don’t skip ahead.
- Schedule your workouts (ideally around the same time each day) and make them a nonnegotiable part of your day. Think of them as important meetings you schedule for yourself and treat them as such! Set an alarm on your phone and/or choose a time to check in with your partner/coach each day to hold one another accountable. Have a Plan B if you’re not able to do it at your regularly scheduled time.
- Set realistic expectations. If you’ve never run before, don’t expect to be able to go out and run a mile the first day. Focus on taking baby steps – this will help you feel successful and motivate you to continue. Bring your effort every single day and don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way – no matter how small they may be.
- Do something you love, or at least you love the way you feel when you’re done! It is NOT worth trying to get through a workout program that you’re not into or train for a race if you don’t like to run. Make it fun! There are lots of ways to get exercise and there is something for everyone! Having trouble finding the perfect program for you? Complete this quick survey and I’ll help you find or develop a program that matches your interests, ability level, and goals.
- Wear a sports watch that tells you how many calories you burn with each workout, if you are in your target heart rate zone, etc. so you can track your progress. I have the Nike+ Sportswatch with GPS and love it! You can get it here: http://michelzbinden.com/en/index.php. The FitBit is another popular option. Click HERE for more info on the FitBit.
- Create a workout playlist with your favorite tunes.
- Set mini goals so they are less overwhelming. If you are just starting out, start small. Make it a goal to put on your exercise shoes and do something active for 5 minutes each day. Chances are you’ll end up surpassing your goal, but if not at least you’re starting to build positive habits. Once you’ve mastered that, bump it up to 10 or 15 minutes until you reach your desired goal.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of proper nutrition and adequate sleep. You won’t have the energy to work out if you aren’t resting your body and fueling it with nutritious foods. Being tired also affects your willpower and ability to avoid unhealthy food cravings.
- Don’t take more than 2 days off in a row (for nutrition and exercise). It’s much easier to keep up the momentum if you don’t come to a complete standstill! Slowing down your routing/taking time off is okay, but the more consistent you are the more quickly it will become a habit, the easier it will be to keep going, and the more you will enjoy it!
- When you have a bad day/week/month, shake it off and get back on track. Look at failure as an opportunity to begin again – only this time more wisely! Learn from your mistakes and use them to make better choices next time. Remember that failure is part of success – mistakes and slip ups will happen. It’s how we react to failure/mistakes that separates those who give up on their goals from those who achieve them!
- Remind yourself of all the health benefits of exercise. Don’t exercise to be skinny, exercise to be healthy! Eating right and exercising also helps relieve stress, increases your energy level, boosts your confidence, and improves your skin so you not only feel younger and more energetic, but you look younger too! Exercise has also been shown to improve your mood and quality of sleep, enhance your productivity, increase your libido, and improve your quality of life! When you take care of you, you are also better able to take care of others. Check out the list of 50 Reasons to Exercise below and find a few that resonate with you.
Image from meanrat.com
- Think about who else you might inspire by practicing healthy habits. In being the best version of you, you encourage others to be the healthiest, best version of themselves.
- Find a trainer (Shaun T, Tony Horton, etc.), class (Spin, Zumba, etc.), or routine that you enjoy and stick with it. Or, mix it up by selecting a program with a ton of variety (e.g. 21 Day Fix, P90X3). Contact Jen to find your perfect program.
- Put something on the line. Don’t allow yourself to watch your favorite shows or indulge in your favorite treat until you’ve accomplished your most important tasks for the day (e.g. your workout and healthy meal prep).
- Even if you already have a routine, invest in a personal trainer or coach. Investing in your health and having the extra accountability and support will make you more inclined to follow through with your routine and more likely to reach your goals. I understand times are tough for many of us financially, but this means we should cut back on unnecessary costs – and our health does not fit the bill! For more information on my one-on-one and group coaching programs/challenges, click here.
- Track your progress by taking measurements and photos every 30 days. You’ll be amazed at your results, even if they aren’t yet showing up on the scale. If you’re consistent, that will come!
- Push yourself! Maximize the time you have by giving 100% with every exercise and taking breaks to catch your breath when needed. This is WAY BETTER than simply trying to get through the workout and be done! Change occurs when your body gets tired/fatigued so if you don’t challenge yourself you won’t change yourself.
- Join an accountability group (e.g. a running group, online group, class at the gym) and surround yourself with like-minded people who are passionate about their health. Their habits, values, and attitudes will start to rub off on you.
- Replace the “I can’t afford to take ___ min to workout” excuse with the “I can’t afford not to” mentality. All the other things in life won’t matter as much if you’re not around to enjoy them!Don’t like to workout? Replace “I hate to workout” with “I hate to workout, but I hate ___ more.” Fill in the blank with “having a muffin top,” “being overweight,” “not having energy,” “feeling sick,” etc.
- If you feel guilty about taking the time for you, don’t do it for you! Do it for your family member who suffered from heart disease or diabetes. Do it for your kids to set a good example. Do it for the Lord as a way of honoring your body so you can fulfill the plan he has laid out for you. You are helping more than yourself when you take the time to take care of you!
- Recognize that a sound mind and healthy body are requirements for success in your life, both of which are accomplished with a healthy diet and exercise.
- Sign up for a fun run, charity walk, marathon relay to keep you motivated. Or, turn it into a social event by finding a workout buddy (I hear spouses can make great partners J), a walking buddy in your neighborhood, or signing up for a rec league team.
- Schedule ACTIVE family activities – biking, hiking, tee ball in the backyard – as a way to naturally incorporate exercise into your everyday life. The more you get your heart rate up the more energy you’ll have, the better you’ll feel, and the more you’ll want to stay active! Plus, you’re building healthy habits in your kids!
- Focus on non-scale victories (e.g. your energy level, how you feel after a great workout).
- Buy a new swimsuit or outfit in your desired size so you have to stay on track to fit into it.
- Focus on the sense of accomplishment you will get when you reach your goal! Remember that it’s not about being perfect – it’s about making progress. Every day you eat well, exercise, and take care of yourself you are moving one step closer to your goal! When you bring that effort every day, that’s where the real transformation happens.
“It may take a little time to get to where you want to be, but if you pause and think for a moment, you will notice that you are no longer where you were. Do not stop. Keep going.” – Rodolfo Costa
Regardless of how far away your goal may seem, it all starts with a single step. Instead of focusing on how far you have to go, focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other – in taking that next step. Your progress may seem slow, but don’t lose hope! One day it will all come to fruition and you will reach your goals that once seemed impossible.
CALL TO ACTION #1 (Please comment): What tip/s from the list above can you use to GET MOTIVATED so that you can get started?
CALL TO ACTION #2: One of the biggest motivators when it comes to getting healthy is having someone (or a group of people) hold you accountable to your goals. If you’re looking for FREE support and accountability to keep moving forward, please join my Fueled Fit Focused Facebook Community by clicking HERE and requesting to be added to the group. If you’re looking for more individualized support, please visit my Programs Page to learn about about my one-on-one and group coaching programs.